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Massive Crowd, Multi-Faith Prayer At Shaheen Bagh’s CAA Protest

Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh has seen a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA for almost a month.

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Shaheen Bagh Prayer

New Delhi: People of different faiths came together on Sunday to participate in a ”sarva dharma sambhava” – a multi-faith prayer ceremony – at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, where Anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protesters have been demonstrating for almost a month now.

The inter-faith ceremony, where there was a traditional Hindu-style “hawan” and chants of Sikh “kirtan”, saw participants also reading out the Preamble of the Constitution and taking an oath to preserve its “socialist, secular” values.

“Scriptures from the Gita, the Bible, the Quran were read and Gurbani held. Then the Preamble of the Constitution was also read out by people from varying faiths who are supporting this movement,” Syed Taseer Ahmed, one of the organisers of the protest, told news agency PTI.

The crowd swelled from hundreds to over a thousand by the afternoon. Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor was among those who addressed the protest in the evening. Being a Sunday and the weather relatively warmer, more people, could join the protest, he added.

The concept of ”sarv dharm sambhav” (equal respect for all religions or peaceful co-existance of all religions) was popularised by Mahatma Gandhi during India’s freedom struggle against the British rule to promote inter-faith harmony.

Hundreds of protesters, including women and children, stayed put at the Sarita Vihar-Kalindi Kunj road at Shaheen Bagh on Sunday, as their movement for the withdrawal of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and a proposed pan-India National Register of Citizens (NRC) was set to complete a month on Monday.

A replica of the India Gate has also come near the protest site with names of the people who have lost their lives during anti-CAA protests across the country inked on it.

Over two dozen such names are written on the replica including those from states like Assam, Karnataka, Bihar and most of them from Uttar Pradesh.

People have been protesting at Shaheen Bagh and nearby Jamia Millia Islamia here to oppose the CAA and the NRC. Besides Delhi, protests have unfolded in several parts of the country over the contentious law since it was passed on December 11 and have led to clashes at several places including Uttar Pradesh, where over 20 people have died.

According to the amended law, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.

Critics of the law say that, combined with the NRC it discriminates against Muslims and makes religion a criteria for citizenship for the first time.

However, the central government has dismissed the allegations, maintaining that the law is intended to give citizenship to the persecuted people from the three neighbouring countries and not to take away citizenship from anyone.

India

SC judge says opposing govt can’t be labelled as anti-national

“There have been many recent incidents where people have been called anti-national because they dissented from the government,”

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Supreme Court judge Justice Deepak Gupta

New Delhi, Feb 24 : Supreme Court judge Deepak Gupta on Monday said if attempts are made to quell dissent, then it will have a chilling effect on democracy, as “governments are not always right” and that opposing government can’t be labelled as anti-national.

Speaking at the lecture hosted by Supreme Court Bar Association on democracy and dissent, Justice Gupta emphasized the essence of democracy by stating that majoritarianism is antithesis to democracy. “There have been many recent incidents where people have been called anti-national because they dissented from the government,” he said.

“If some party gets 51% votes, does that mean the other 49% should not speak for 5 years…every citizen has a role to play in democracy….governments are not always right,” said Justice Gupta.

“Just because you take a contararian view, it does not mean disrespect to the country. Whenever there is a clash of ideas, there will be dissent. Right to question is an inherent part of democracy.”

He reiterated that the Opposition has the right to protest as long as peaceful means are adopted. Justice Gupta also cited excerpts from a lecture recently given by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, which said: “Blatant labelling if dissent as anti-national stops deliberative democracy.”

Citing vital components of democracy, Justice Gupta said democracy is considered successful, if it protects the civil rights of the citizens. “Dissent has an important role, it should be encouraged…it leads to finding better ways to run the country”, he added.

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Cities

Shots fired in Maujpur, vehicles vandalised

Pro, anti-CAA groups clash in northeast Delhi’s Maujpur

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Maujpur anti CAA Violence
Anti CAA and Pro CAA Protest in Delhi Pic : Credit @drpandey

The Delhi Metro also closed entry and exit at Jaffrabad and Maujpur-Babarpur stations as an uneasy calm prevailed in the area.

Situation continued to remain volatile in north-east Delhi, with fresh cases of stone pelting reported from near the Babarpur-Maujpur metro station on Monday.

Several rounds of stone pelting between pro- and anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protesters took place.

After the anti-CAA protesters set their cars on fire, the pro-CAA group retaliated by setting shops and a house on fire. Around four cars were damaged and as many shops were targetted.

Police fired tear gas shells to disperse the protesters. A few policemen also attempted to pacify the groups. But the clashes were happening in several pockets due to which police force was taking time to reach the spots.

The Delhi Metro also closed entry and exit at Jaffrabad and Maujpur-Babarpur stations as an uneasy calm prevailed in the area.

On Sunday, a clash broke out in the area between the two groups around 1 km from the Jaffarabad Metro Station, where one side of the carriageway had been blocked by anti-CAA protesters since morning. After slogan shouting from both sides, the groups started pelting stones at each other, leading to chaos in the area.

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India

The US will become India’s premier defence partner: Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump’s two-day visit to India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives US President Donald Trump with a bear hug. He also welcomes his wife Melania Trump. Namaste Trump event at Motera Stadium has started. Stay tuned for live updates of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Trump’s roadshow and their addre

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Donald Trump

New Delhi, Feb 24 : India and the United States will sign two defence deals worth $3 billion in Delhi on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump said on Monday.

The defence deals pertain to the sale of 24 MH-60R helicopters for the Indian Navy and six AH-64E Apache helicopters for the Army.

“As we continue to build our defence cooperation, the US looks forward to providing India with some of the best and most-feared military equipment on the planet. We make the greatest weapons ever made. We make the best and we are dealing now with India,” the US President said while speaking at the Motera stadium in Ahmedabad after landing in the Gujarat city earlier.

“I am pleased to announce that tomorrow, our representatives will sign deals to sell for over $3 billion the finest, state-of-the-art military helicopters and other equipment to the Indian armed forces.”

https://twitter.com/airnewsalerts/status/1231864252081655810

Ahead of Trump’s visit to India, the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 19 cleared the two deals to acquire 24 MH-60 ‘Romeo’ naval multi-mission helicopters for $2.12 billion and six AH-64E Apache attack choppers for $796 million from the US.

The first batch of six MH-60R helicopters, equipped with multi-mode radars and night-vision capabilities as well as Hellfire missiles, MK-54 torpedoes and precision-kill rockets for potent anti-submarine warfare, would be delivered within a year. The remaining 18 will be delivered within four years.

The six Apaches, armed with Stinger air-to-air missiles, Hellfire Longbow air-to-ground missiles, guns and rockets, would be delivered in three and a half years.

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