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Kathua Case: Fact finding team’s report will go to court, says Minister




New Delhi, May 4: A fact-finding team that studied the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday submitted its report demanding a CBI probe to Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Minister in PMO Jitendra Singh promised to forward it to the court in Jammu and Kashmir.

Jitendra Singh’s promise came after the five-member team of “Group of Intellectuals and Academicians” (GIA), comprising a retired judge, an advocate, a journalist, a professor and an educationist, submitted its report to him at his residence. It was later given to the Home Minister.

The rape and murder in Hiranagar area in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district had triggered widespread outrage and cost two BJP leaders their ministerial jobs in the Mehbooba Mufti-led BJP-PDP coalition government.

“The fact finding team has come out with certain notings… Since the case is sub judice, I think talking too much in public about it would not be in the interest of any of us or even in the interest of those who are trying to prove themselves innocent.

“I would say that there can be no pardon for the cruel crime. There should be strictest possible punishment. At the same time, it is also a responsibility of all of us to see that if someone is innocent, he or she should not be harmed.

“I am sure that the court will take cognizance of all this and the report which has been presented to us by a fact-finding team will be sent to the concerned court,” the Minister said.

Asked about GIA’s demand for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Singh said: “There is a procedure. The CBI inquiry is referred only once a recommendation comes from the state government and that applies to any state.”

Supreme Court advocate Monika Arora, who is part of the fact finding team, said the team visited Kathua on April 23 and 24 and found many “loopholes” in the investigation by the Jammu and Kashmir Police.

Raising questions over the police probe, Arora said: “We talked to the family of the victim and the accused, police officials, government and people in Kathua and found that things which are on the ground are not in the police chargesheet and vice versa.

“The investigation is totally shoddy. There are many loopholes and unanswered questions. We demand from the government and the court a CBI probe in the case so that the victim gets justice.”

According to Arora, the place where police said the victim was kept for six days was not a temple but a “Dev Sthan”.

“There is neither any basement nor any floor. There is only a 20×35 feet room where there is no furniture except a three feet table. There are three windows and three doors. The windows have only grills and they are not covered. You can see from outside what is going on inside.

“There are four keys to the Dev Sthan which are with four elders of the village. People come and go there frequently,” she said.

Arora said it was impossible to keep a girl hiding at that place.

She said three teams probed the case within a span of 10 days and two postmortem reports — one in January and other in March — showed different reports.

She said the theory that the accused threw the victim’s body near his house after the killing was difficult to believe.



Opposition requests President to return farm Bills for reconsideration

After the meeting senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “the govt did not have the numbers and our request for division was ignored and even the resolution against the Bill was not allowed”




Ram Nath Kovind

Opposition leaders met President Kovind on Wednesday and apprised him of the circumstances amid which the Farm Bills were passed in the Rajya Sabha on Sunday. They requested him to return the Bills for reconsideration to the House.

After the meeting Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “the government did not have the numbers and our request for division was ignored and even the resolution against the Bill was not allowed.”

The opposition said that the government ignored the demand for sending the Bills to a select committee.

Ahead of this meeting, the Congress and other opposition parties continued to protest in the Parliament complex here on Wednesday.

The protesting lawmakers marched from Gandhi’s statue in the complex to BR Ambedkar’s statue within the premises to register their protest while carrying placards.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted: “All MPs of the Congress and like-minded parties are marching from the Gandhi statue to the Ambedkar statue in Parliament to protest against anti-farmers and anti-workers Bills rubber stamped in Parliament in the most undemocratic manner by the Modi government.”

Earlier, the opposition leaders met in the chamber of Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and decided to continue their protest over the Farm Bills.

The opposition and the government are at loggerheads ever since the two farm Bills were passed amid a ruckus in the Upper House on Sunday. The third contentious Bill on essential commodities was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

On Sunday, pandemonium broke out in the Upper House as the opposition protested over the two Farm Bills. Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien even approached the Chair and tried to snatch a mike while citing the rule book.

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Obituary – MoS Railway Angadi will be remembered for warm gesture, smile




Suresh Angadi,

New Delhi, Sep 23 : Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi, who passed away on Wednesday evening at a hospital here where he was being treated for Covid-19 will always be known for a big smile and warm gestures by his colleagues and friends.

Angadi was made the Minister of State for Railways in May last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Soon after his appointment as MoS for Railways, he knew that he has to meet the expectations of PM Modi to improve the train services.

During the inaugural run of second Vande Bharat Express train between New Delhi to Katra on October 4 last year, just two months after the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, he travelled in train with media persons to give a message that the government is standing with the people of J&K for the overall development of the region.

There were around 80 media persons along including the camerapersons to cover the inaugural run of the Vande Bharat Express.

During the trip, Angadi kept on interacting with the media about the plans of the Railway Ministry to bring development in erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

He gave interviews for four consecutive hours without any break and assured that he answered all the tough questions posed to him.

Speaking to IANS on the same trip, Angadi had said, the Indian Railways, which has witnessed delays in completion of several important projects, was aiming to finish all of them by 2022, on the occasion of 75th Independence Day.

He had also said that the national transporter sees the option of allowing private operators to run trains as an opportunity to provide world class services.

Angadi had said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed that all the pending projects and works be completed by 2022. We are focusing on completing pending works, like doubling and tripling of tracks, electrification, installation of CCTVs and signalling system upgrade.”

“New projects will be taken up only after completing them,” Angadi said.

He also favoured giving trains to private operators, and cited the example of private TV channels and said, “The entry of private players will generate more jobs and investment opportunities. In the long run, a lot of development will follow due to the competition.”

In countries like China trains run at 400 kmph. But in India trains were not running even at 160 kmph, he said.

“To compete with the world, we have to opt for investment from many sources. When a private company or people comes and invests in railways, it will create opportunities to develop economy,” he had said.

The railways had last year proposed to corporatise Rae Bareli Modern Rail Coach factory in UP.

On opposition of the Congress and other parties to corporatisation and privatisation of railways’ manufacturing units, the Minister said, “The Congress never thought about development. It has always opposed development.”

“We have not got to think of the Congress, but development and competition, and let the economy grow and create employment opportunities,” Angadi said.

Citing examples, he had said, the national highways remained undeveloped till the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government took it up and today even foreign countries were appreciating them.

Angadi in the railway ministry was also known as one of the most punctual minister. He always came to the ministry on time and ensured that the press briefing started on time.

Angadi represented Belagavi constituency of Karnataka in Lok Sabha.

He first won from the seat in 2004 and remained undefeated from the seat till 2019.

He was also known as a media man, who always remained responsive to the queries of media even late in night.

Following the news of gis death, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said, “Deeply anguished at the unfortunate demise of Suresh Angadiji. He was like my brother. Words fall short to describe his commitment and dedication towards the people. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this hour of need. Om Shanti.”

Angadi Angadi admitted at AIIMS on September 11 after testing positive for Covid-19. He breathed his last on Wednesday evening.

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Naidu’s warning ahead of Rajya Sabha’s adjournment sine die




Rajya Sabha VP Naidu

New Delhi, Sep 24 : Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, in his valedictory remarks ahead of the house being adjourned sine die on Wednesday, made some serious observations about Sunday’s ruckus in the Rajya Sabha that got eight MPs suspended.

“For the first time in this history of this august House, a notice of motion for removal of the Hon’ble Deputy Chairman has been given. It had to be rejected for the reasons I have elaborated while doing so,” Naidu said, calling the “developments” “unprecedented” and “painful”.

“I don’t want to go into details of those unpleasant turn of events. All that I like to do is to appeal to all of you from the depth of my heart to kindly ensure that such unseemly behavior is not repeated,” he urged.

Calling the ruckus “unpalatable”, he reminded: “To protest is the right of the opposition. But the question is how should it be done?”

“But if boycott is done for a longer period, it amounts to leaving the very platform that enables you to effectively convey your ideas and contesting those of others. I request all members to keep this in mind.”

However, there were high points too. Naidu said that 25 Bills have been passed and six Bills have been introduced in this very short span of time in the upper house.

The productivity of the house during this session has been 100.47 per cent, he informed.

“(As much as) 22 hours 3 minutes time has been spent on discussing the government’s legislative proposals during these 10 sittings. This comes to a record 57 per cent of the total functional time of the House during this session,” an otherwise upset Naidu said with visible happiness.

Meanwhile, 1,567 unstarred questions were replied to in writing by the government during these 10 sittings.

Members also raised issues of urgent public importance through 92 Zero Hour and 66 Special Mentions.

Both houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die on Wednesday — eight days before their scheduled end on October 1 — due to increasing Covid-19 cases.

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