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Immense suffering, say migrants to Rahul in Congress documentary



rahul gandhi

New Delhi, May 23 : Emphasising on the plight of the migrant workers, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday released a documentary of his meeting with the migrant workers walking back to their native place in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi from Haryana and said that the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) has hit them hard.

The 16-minute documentary was released by the Congress on its YouTube channel.

Rahul Gandhi, who is also the Lok Sabha MP from Kerala’s Wayanad, had met the migrant labourers in the national capital near the Sukh Dev Vihar flyover in south east Delhi on May 15.

Before the release of the documentary, Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter and wrote, “A few days back, I met with these brothers and sisters who were walking to their home towns near Jhansi. Today at 9 a.m., watch the story of their patience, determination and self reliance on my YouTube channel.”

In the documentary, the Congress leader can be seen sitting on the street along with the migrant workers and talking to them. Narrating the story of the migrant workers, Rahul Gandhi said, “Corona has hurt a lot of people, but the worst hit are the labourers, who walked on the streets for hundreds of kilometres. They walked with empty stomach, they didn’t stop and were beaten, threatened but still they managed to walk to their homes.”

“I want to show you what are their fears, their aspirations, and how is their future and what they feel about it,” he said.

During the conversation with the former Congress chief, Mahesh, a migrant worker from Jhansi narrating his ordeal, said that the group has been walking for last one day and has travelled over 120 km on foot and they are going back to their native place without any money and support from the government.

“I am Mahesh Kumar, from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh, I have already walked 120 km. Since yesterday we have been walking and we have been walking in the night. Now what we can do, we have to walk to our homes,” he informed the Congress leader.

Another woman migrant worker told Rahul Gandhi, “We are hungry for last three days. I also have my child, who is hungry for three days. We have worked for four to five days and the money that we had is finished in the last two months, now what to do, so we have decided to go back to our homes on foot.”

Another woman migrant worker told Rahul Gandhi that she has no money to buy food and “no one is ready to help”. “Then what should we do, it is our majboori (helplessness),” she said.

The Congress leader then asked another migrant worker from the group – that from where they were coming, to which the workers in unison replied that they were coming from Haryana.

“We used to work as labourers. We are walking along with our family members. We have walked for over 100 kilometres from Haryana,” one of the migrant worker replied to Rahul Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi further asked them how did they come to know about the nationwide lockdown, to which the group said that they came to know about the lockdown instantly.

“We were paying Rs 2,500 as rent. And we are going to Jhansi and we are walking without money,” one of the migrant worker said.

When the Congress leader asked how manage food, as they do not have the money, one of the woman workers said, “We are getting the food from some people who stop their vehicle and feed us. We came to know about the lockdown on March 21 evening. It was said that on March 22, there will be Bharat Band, and we thought that it is for just one day.”

“The government should have given four-day notice,” one of the migrant worker told Rahul Gandhi to which he again asked what they would have done if they would have known in advance. To this, the migrant workers replied, “We would have returned back to our homes.”

When the Congress leader inquired about how they were managing their expenses during the lockdown, one of the workers said, “We took udhar (credit) from our neighbours and then some of our families sold the farm produce and then sent money to some of the people here.”

The Congress leader further asked them why did they decide to go back, to which they said, “The lockdown is being extended everytime. And we are still unclear if it will be extended again.”

When Rahul Gandhi enquired if they will come back to work in Haryana in the coming days, the group in unison said that they have not decided about it yet. “We are going back to save our lives.”

The group also informed the Congress leader that they have left most of their belongings in the rented accommodation in Haryana. “We are not bothered about that. We have left the utensils of our kitchens there. If life is saved then more utensils can be bought,” one of the woman from the group said.

When the Congress leader enquired if they got any monetary help from the government, the group said that they have not received any help from the government and only heard about the promise of getting Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 in their bank accounts.

Rahul Gandhi again asked them that do they think it was their fault as they were doing their job, to this, one of the migrant worker replied, “Government said that you cannot work and tied our hands.”

The migrant workers also alleged that in Haryana, along with the police the local people who wielded sticks used to target the migrant workers who would come out of their homes. One migrant worker said, “Till the time we were working we were valued. And as the work stopped, we were left with nothing.”

One of the migrant woman told Congress leader to arrange for her return as she said she does not want to go back to Haryana.

“We don’t want to go back to Haryana, please arrange for our return to our homes, we will die at home, but would not go back,” she said.

The documentary shared by the Congress provided a glimpse into the immense suffering of the migrant workers due to the nationwide lockdown enforced to break the chain of Covid-19 pandemic.

After his interaction, the former Congress President urged the government to make direct cash transfer of Rs 7,500 into the bank accounts of the workers. Rahul Gandhi had made arrangements for the safe return of the group of the migrant workers to their native places.


UP’s Most Wanted Vikas Dubey didn’t figure in list of criminals




Vikas Dubey.

Lucknow, July 5 : The political connections of Vikas Dubey, the main accused in the killing of eight police personnel in Kanpur on Friday, were so strong that his name did not figure in the list of top ten criminals of the district even though he has 71 criminal cases registered against his name.

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Column: Prime Minister sets the record straight – Spy’s Eye




Modi in Leh

It is now clearly conveyed to the nation that India had put China on notice for its recent aggressive conduct on LAC and warned it of serious consequences of any further misadventure it might be planning against this country. Prime Minister Modi in his ”Mann ki Baat” on June 28, which is like an address to the countrymen, talked of India”s strong resolve in dealing with the military face-off with China on the LAC in Ladakh and gave out that ”a befitting reply had been given to those who cast an evil eye on India”s territory”. He added that ”India can handle friendly relations but also knows how to look into the eyes of anyone who challenged its sovereignty”.

Giving an insight into India”s strategy, the Prime Minister informed the people that among other things India was taking measures to become self-reliant in various spheres, including indigenous production of defence hardware to meet ”exigencies of national security and sovereignty”. India has since stepped up border infrastructure development on our side of the LAC as well as mobilisation of troops on the ground — apart from readying our Air Force and Navy for defensive action against any external aggression. The message given to China is loud and clear — stay off from giving any provocation by attempting to encroach on any point of disputed territory along the LAC. Defence of Ladakh is geared up in line with the declared stand of the Modi government that Aksai Chin had been illegally occupied by China and that this matter had to be set right. That India will stretch China on various fronts — economic and geo-political — is emerging as a strategic element of India”s long-term response to the current hostility of this neighbour.

While the situation on the LAC is still evolving, India has from its side confronted China with the demand of return to the status quo ante and engaged that country in border talks at the level of Core Commander on disengagement and deescalation. The government, meanwhile, is keeping up military and foreign policy endeavours to prepare for any aggravation. It is in this background that Prime Minister Modi, in a brief address to the nation on June 30, did not touch on China and confined himself to an announcement of extension of free ration scheme covering nearly 80 crore people for five months — till November end — giving them relief in a difficult time to see through Diwali and Chhat festivals. An added facility of using ration cards on an all- India basis was promised.

The Prime Minister reiterated the need for total caution during the Unlock-2 against corona. He came off as a compassionate leader who appeared to be giving priority to the internal scene relating to people in distress and by not bothering the latter with the issue of India-China tension on the border, also giving a message that his government was fully in control of things on that front. Since the majority of migrants belonged to UP and Bihar, what is the harm if the PM made a mention of the two major festivals of North India in his address to bring some cheer to this distressed lot? Hopefully, the sense of nightmare that crores of migrant labour experienced in the lockdown would be eased substantially — though the crisis of unemployment looming large for them would still confront them. Importantly, the Modi regime remains firm on building the economy indigenously by emphasising the idea of ”be vocal for local” and encouraging entrepreneurship and start-ups. Internal stability in India will be determined by the economic recovery.

Coming back to the issue of China”s aggressiveness on the border, it is clear that three aspects of the situation deserved to be taken note of in framing a long-term strategy of dealing with that country. First is the unmistakable fact that the intensification of cross-border terrorism in Kashmir by Pakistan and the military build-up on LAC started by China in the period following the abrogation of Article 370 by India, showed a new level of meeting of minds between these two allies against India — that was part of their bigger geo-political plan of acquiring a firm hold in the crucial Pak-Afghan-Kashmir tri junction. This territory anchored the superpower rivalry in the Cold War era for control of this region — a lesson China would remember as it positions itself as the other superpower in the present, conscious of the advantage it has of having Pakistan on its side. India has to weaken this alliance by carrying the anti-terror combat into the POK and damaging the CPEC where it would hurt China the most. China can create some more mischief on LAC in support of Pakistan but this is nothing that India”s army would not be able to handle.

Secondly, this is the moment for India to build the opinion of the entire democratic world against the dictatorial Chinese regime that was out to disturb world peace in chasing its blatant plans of dominating the world militarily and economically — as a new superpower. India must make it a point to highlight the role of Sino-Pak axis in fomenting terrorism of the Islamic radicals and using it as an instrument of political advancement through proxy wars and cross-border operations. For securing India”s interests in a peaceful and democratic Afghanistan, we should further strengthen bilateral relations with Russia, Israel and Iran in working for a place in the ”round table” convened to discuss that country”s future — at a time when the US is being expedient about accommodating the Taliban in power there. Fortunately, we have in the NSA and the EAM a very competent, experienced and knowledgable set of people who can achieve the international outreach that India presently needs to counter and override the challenge posed by the China-Pakistan combine.

Finally, it is in the realm of economic relations that India has to find ways and means of scuttling the economic power that China had tried to wield against its opponents, including India. In fact, the tough response of President Donald Trump on the US-China trade imbalance and the more recent US-led campaign against China”s alleged culpability in hiding information relating to corona pandemic from the world — India being on the side of the US in these matters — substantially accounted for the precipitate hostility of China towards India. India”s rightful offer to the businesses seeking to shift away from China, to relocate here added to the Chinese desperation which was reflected in the aggression on LAC. Tension on the borders was intended to project India as a land of conflict and distract global investors from this country. As important as the marshalling of defence preparedness against China, therefore, are the moves of India to battle with the latter on the economic turf. India has set the ball rolling by banning some 59 Apps of Chinese origin and linking it with the call for development of indigenous products and services to make India self reliant in all fields, including defence production.

Prime Minister Modi has clearly embarked on a comprehensive strategy of military consolidation, economic recovery and deeper collaboration with friendly powers to deal with the emerging challenges — particularly the threat posed by China in the immediate and long range. India”s relations with China of Xi Jinping can become irreversibly antipathetic unless China strikes a peace chord by retracing its steps in Galwan valley. People must rally behind the effort of Modi regime to safeguard national security and integrity — at a time when the corona pandemic has compounded the problems of the common Indian at home. Prime Minister Modi in his address on June 30 acknowledged the silent contribution of the farmer and the tax payer to the well-being of the nation. It is a matter of satisfaction for the nation that the Prime Minister has shown a rare capability of handling multiple crises with calm and confidence.

(The writer is a former Director Intelligence Bureau)

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Rahul Gandhi extends wishes on Guru Purnima



Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, July 5 : Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday extended wishes on the occasion of Guru Purnima.

“Three things that cannot be hidden for long – Sun, Moon, and Truth – Gautam Buddha. Best wishes to all of you on the occasion of Guru Purnima,” the Congress leader wrote on the microblogging site Twitter (translated from Hindi).

Guru Purnima is marked on the full-moon day of the Hindu month Ashadha and is celebrated by the Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists to honour one’s ‘gurus’ or teachers who guide us through our lives towards the path of enlightenment.

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