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India

Kashmir region returning to normalcy, Centre tells Supreme Court

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Lockdown in Kashmir
Indian security forces patrol a deserted street during restrictions after the Indian government scrapped special status for Kashmir, in Srinagar August 7, 2019.

New Delhi, Nov 21 : A day after Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement in the Parliament on Kashmir, the Centre, through Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, gave the Supreme Court a detailed account of “normalcy” returning to Jammu and Kashmir, especially in the Valley.

The Solicitor General, in a counter to petitions challenging the restrictions imposed on Kashmir after revocation of Article 370, said these petitions have outlived their relevance as the erstwhile state is returning to normalcy.

“The region is under diktats is a serious allegation levelled by petitioners… post August 5, rights have been conferred on citizens and not taken away,” he said. He insisted the narrative suggesting the entire seven million population is under the shadow of doubt, in the backdrop of these restrictions, is a false notion pedalled by a minority.

Elaborating on the nature of terrorism, Mehta, supporting the restrictions imposed on the access to internet in the region, said: “We are victim of cross border terrorism, who infiltrate digitally and not only physically.”

Mehta presented the latest data, on the situation of Kashmir as on November 18, before a bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana. “Orders under section 144 CrPC have been removed from all 195 police stations. There has been a decrease in incidents of stone pelting, 190 incidents reported after August 5 as compared to 802 in 2018. And, all 20,411 schools are open. Nearly 99 per cent students appeared in senior secondary examination,” he told the court.

The Solicitor General added all hospitals and medical centres are open in the Valley. Large volumes of fuel have been consumed which indicate vehicular movement in the region. “The government purchased apples through NAFED at a cost of Rs 38 crore. Out of 59,76,359 mobile phones, 20,05,293 post-paid mobile phones (voice) are functioning. But, restrictions continue on pre-paid, as identities can be forged to get a connection,” he added.

The government has facilitated 280 e-terminals for access to internet in 11 districts, and arrangements have been made in tourist spots. The Centre insisted that newspapers are being published, banking services are functional, nearly all shops and markets are open in the Valley, government offices are functional, and public transport is also functioning.

The SG told the petitioner, who is the editor of a newspaper, deliberately chose not to publish newspaper from Kashmir. “The narrative everything is blocked and journalists do not do anything is not true,” he contended.

India

Modi may have compulsions for not wishing Dalai Lama: Congress

Surjewala, however, wished the Dalai Lama on behalf of the entire nation, while asserting that it”s a “privilege” to have the Dalai Lama”s “blessings”.

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Randeep Surjewala

New Delhi, July 6 : The Congress, which has been consistently training it’s guns at the Centre, took a sharp dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday for allegedly not wishing the Dalai Lama on his birthday. The Dalai Lama turned 85 on Monday.

The Congress” communication department chief Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “We waited for Hon”ble PM to lead the nation in wishing HE the Dalai Lama a very Happy Birthday. (But) Modi ji may have had his compulsions for not doing so.”

Surjewala, however, wished the Dalai Lama on behalf of the entire nation, while asserting that it”s a “privilege” to have the Dalai Lama”s “blessings”.

Beijing views the Nobel Peace Prize winner as a dangerous separatist. The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India way back in 1959 after an uprising against the Chinese rule.

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India

‘Gujarat hub of Chinese investment’: Congress hits out at PM Modi

Citing the overarching anti-Chinese goods sentiment in the country and how several traders’ bodies have boycotted selling Chinese products, Khera asked the centre to articulate its own policy on the matter.

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pawan khera

New Delhi, July 6 : The Congress on Monday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging his home state Gujarat has become the ‘epicentre’ of Chinese investment in India.

This remark comes amid the India-China border tensions that saw 20 Indian soldiers get martyred in the Ladakh region following which the Centre brought curbs on Chinese investments.

“On the one hand, our brave army is pushing the PLA back from the Ladakh border, and on the other hand, PSUs continue to give contracts to Chinese companies,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said at a late night press conference here.

Calling Gujarat the “hub of Chinese investment”, Khera claimed that the process of Chinese investment in Gujarat continues. He also referred to 3 major MoUs signed in the last five years involving Rs 43,000 crore.

“One Industrial Park, the other is the Smart City Project and the Textile Park… Rs. 43,000 crore of MOUs in the last five years is fine, but, in the last 20 days also, the process doesn’t see any question mark, any comma, any full stop from the government. The Prime Minister comes from Gujarat, therefore the question will obviously be asked to the Prime Minister,” he said.

Using strong phrases like “special fondness for China”, the Congress asked the Prime Minister whether the Gujarat government will “reconsider” its approach.

Khera also asked about an alleged agreement with the China Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and whether it will be revoked or not. “We also want to know whether all those companies that you have given special status will be shown the door or not. People want to know, has there been any change in your policies?” he asked.

Citing the overarching anti-Chinese goods sentiment in the country and how several traders’ bodies have boycotted selling Chinese products, Khera asked the centre to articulate its own policy on the matter.

The Congress’s counter-offensive comes days after the ruling BJP had launched a scathing attack on the party and its interim President Sonia Gandhi for allegedly receiving funds from the Chinese government for the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, that she heads.

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Cities

Andhra Covid victim’s body dumped into pit by earthmover

The 50-year-old man was admitted to Sri Venkateshwara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS) last week and died on Monday.

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Coronavirus Death US

Amaravati, July 6 : Another video has emerged from Andhra Pradesh on Monday highlighting utter disrespect being shown while disposing of dead bodies of Covid-19 victims in the state.

In the second such incident in 10 days, authorities used a JCB excavator to lift the body of a Covid victim from an ambulance and dump it into a pit.

The incident occurred in the temple town of Tirupati in Chittoor district. The front portion of the JCB excavator was brought closer to the ambulance belonging to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD).

Health workers pushed the body onto the excavator, which carried it to a pit and dumped the body in it.

The municipal authorities defended the move, saying the body weighed nearly 180 kgs.

The 50-year-old man was admitted to Sri Venkateshwara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS) last week and died on Monday.

Tirupati Municipal Commissioner P.S. Girisha said they had to bury the body as the attempt by the municipal staff to cremate it had failed, since the body did not fit into the gas furnace. As the wrapping around the body was also torn while shifting it from ambulance to the furnace, they shifted the body back to SVIMS for re-wrapping.

He said it was on the advise of the family that they decided to bury the body. A 14-feet deep pit was dug using the excavator. It was then used to lift the body from the ambulance and dump it in the pit. The official, however, admitted that more workers should have been used to carry the body physically to the pit.

In a similar incident in Palasa town of Srikakulam district on June 26, the body of a Covid victim was shifted from his house to the cremation ground on a JCB excavator. In another incident in the same district, a Covid victim”s body was transported in a tractor.

Taking a serious note of the incidents, the government has suspended six officials.

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had expressed anguish for the inhuman act of transporting the mortal remains of COVID-19 patient through JCB excavator and ordered the immediate suspension of the officials.

“When the protocol in dealing with such cases are clearly mentioned and time and again we have been asking to drive out the stigma on Corona, the officials behaved in an irresponsible manner by transporting the dead body through a excavator which is inhuman and send a wrong signal to the people,” the Chief Minister had said.

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