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Gujarat government collecting data of Muslim students

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Vijay Rupani

Gandhinagar, Nov 27 :The BJP-ruled Gujarat government has been collecting data of Muslim students, appearing for Class 10 and 12 board examinations, for the last five years, state Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said here on Tuesday.

The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Board (GSHSB), which comes under the Gujarat government’s Education Department, has been collecting this specific data.

The data collection is done from the school authorities in the online board examination forms. The information is accessible through a special username and password-protected software for the filling of students’ examination forms.

When the school authorities fill the forms online, a question is asked whether the student is from the minority community. After being answered “Yes”, the user is given only two options, “Muslim” or “Other”.

This practice has been going on since 2013, the Education Minister confirmed to IANS.

When asked why only Muslims are being separately identified when there are other minority community students in Gujarat as well, Education Minister Chudasama told IANS at his state Secretariat office on Tuesday evening: “To collect data.”

When repeated why only Muslims, he said the same thing: “To collect data.”

The Minister parroted this line for every subsequent question, including when asked why is this data being collected.

“This is to collect data. We have been maintaining this data since 2013. To date, nobody has ever complained about it,” Chudasama said.

Asked whether the government will change it, he added: “Why should we change anything?”

Asked why no school authorities are questioning this practice when it is continuing since 2013 and there are scores of schools of the minority community in the state, Asif Khan Pathan, Principal of Crescent Higher Secondary School here said: “You see, we already face so many problems of our own; we found this practice unusual, but we never thought of complaining or even questioning the government’s motive behind this.”

“Many of us were not aware,” said Kausar Ali Saiyad, the founder of Hamaari Awaaz, an organisation working for the Muslim community.

“If the government is really concerned about higher education of Muslim students and is collecting data, I will be glad. But I have not seen this happening in any of the government’s policies for post-metriculation scholarships or any other schemes for Muslim students,” Kauser Ali said.

Cities

57 hotels shut for violating fire safety norms

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Delhi Fire

New Delhi, Feb 16L: The Delhi government has cancelled the fire safety licences of 57 hotels for various violations after inspecting 80 such establishment in the city, said Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain on Saturday.

In a tweet, Jain said: “In all, NoC of 57 hotels out of 80 inspected are cancelled. All of them will be closed.”

The action comes within a week of a massive fire at a hotel in Karol Bagh, which claimed 17 lives and injured many others.

The Minister said the fire department will intensify drive across the city to locate illegal constructions and hotels violating fire safety norms to prevent recurrence of any more incident.

According to Jain, municipal corporations and police have been asked to take necessary action to seal these establishments.

As many as 17 people were killed when a fire engulfed a five-storey hotel here on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the fire department inspected 23 hotels and 13 found them violating fire safety norms.

On Thursday, of the 22 hotels inspected 17 were found to were violating rules.

On Friday, 35 hotels were inspected by the fire department and 27 were found violating fire safety norms.

IANS

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POCSO court orders CBI to probe Nitish in shelter home case

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Nitish Kumar

Patna, Feb 16 (IANS) A court in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur has directed the CBI to conduct an inquiry into the involvement of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and two senior officials in the infamous shelter home sexual exploitation case, officials said on Saturday.

Besides the Chief Minister, special POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) court judge Manoj Kumar on Friday ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe the role of Muzaffarpur District Magistrate Dharmendra Singh and Principal Secretary, Social Welfare Atul Prasad.

The court’s order came as it heard a petition filed by accused Ashwani, a self-claimed medical practitioner, demanding an investigation into the role of the three.

According to a charge sheet filed in the case, Ashwani used to visit the shelter home to allegedly administer sedative-laced injections to the inmates before they were subjected to sexual abuse.

The Muzaffarpur horror came to light in May 2018 when the Bihar Social Welfare Department filed an FIR based on a social audit of the shelter home conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

Brajesh Thakur, a journalist-turned-social activist heading the NGO which ran the shelter home, and other accused were arrested. The matter was handed over to the CBI in July last year.

State Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma was forced to resign after the opposition protests over reports that her husband and former Janata Dal-United legislator Chandreshwar Verma allegedly had close links with Thakur.

Thakur has been shifted to a jail in high-security Patiala following a Supreme Court order while other accused, including his close aides and some government officials, are lodged in jails at Patna and Muzaffarpur.

The trial of the case was this month shifted to Delhi.

The apex court had recently also directed the CBI to take over the probe into allegations of sexual abuse at all such shelter homes across the state.

Rashtriya Janata Dal spokesperson Bhai Virender demanded resignation of Nitish Kumar following the court order. “Nitish Kumar was involved in the case and was protecting the accused and trying to suppress the facts since the beginning,” he said.

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Court extends Vadra’s interim bail in money laundering case

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Robert Vadra

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) A Delhi court on Saturday extended the interim bail till March 2 of Robert Vadra, Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law, who came to the court for the first time in connection with a money laundering case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Special Judge Arvind Kumar also extended the interim protection from arrest to Vadra’s close aide Manoj Arora till March 2.

The hearing was in relation to Vadra’s anticipatory bail plea.

The ED, however, told the court that Vadra is not cooperating in the investigation.

Defending him, Vadra’s counsel K.T.S. Tulsi said that he has appeared in the ED office thrice and grilled for a total of 23 hours and 25 minutes.

Special Public Prosecutor D.P. Singh argued that Vadra was taking to social media and claiming that he was a victim by posting that he was being “harrased”.

Singh said that accused should not use social media to claim that he is being victimised.

He said that Vadra’s visit to the court had attracted a lot of media attention which seemed like people had turned up for a “baraat” or a wedding party.

The case relates to ownership of 1.9 million pounds worth undisclosed assets abroad, allegedly belonging to Vadra, husband of Priyanka Gandhi, the new General Secretary of the Congress for Uttar Pradesh East.

The ED had lodged a money laundering case against Arora after his role surfaced during a probe by the Income Tax Department into another case under the new Black Money Act and tax law against absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.

The London property was allegedly bought by Bhandari and sold in 2010 for the same amount despite incurring additional expenses on its renovation.

On December 7, as part of the investigation, the ED conducted searches at a number of premises in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru.

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