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Modi launches Rupay card in Bhutan, signs 9 MoUs

One power purchase agreement for the Mangdechhu hydroelectric power plant was also signed between the two countries.



Modi Bhutan Visit
Narendra Modi, Bhutan PM inaugurate Ground Earth Station, SATCOM network (Photo: IANS/PIB)

Thimpu, Aug 17 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Saturday launched Rupay card in Bhutan and signed nine memorandums of understanding (MoUs), including one on the ISRO-built earth station in Thimphu and a power purchase agreement.

Modi on a two-day state visit to Bhutan was received by his counterpart Lotay Tshering. He will hold talks with Bhutanese leaders to deepen bilateral relations.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted, “Bringing our economies and people together. Modi and Bhutan Prime Minister jointly launch Rupay cards in Bhutan bringing immediate tangible benefits to the people of both countries.”

One power purchase agreement for the Mangdechhu hydroelectric power plant was also signed between the two countries.

“A true testament to mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation. Modi and Bhutan Prime Minister jointly inaugurate the 720 MW Mangdechu Hydroelectricity Project in Bhutan. India is fortunate to be a partner in Bhutan’s development,” Kumar said in his tweet.

One of the MOUs include establishment of SATCOM Network in Thimphu for the utilisation of South Asia Satellite.

“Sky is the limit! Modi and Bhutan Prime Minister jointly inaugurate the Ground Earth Station & SATCOM network, developed with assistance from ISRO for utilisation of South Asia Satellite in Bhutan. This will bring immense benefit to people living in remote areas of Bhutan,” MEA spokesperson said in his tweet.

Other MoUs include cooperation in aircraft accident and incident investigation, peering agreement, cooperation in judicial education and mutual exchanges, and academic and cultural interchange in the areas of legal education and research.

Kumar, in his another tweet said the both leaders also inaugurated extension of India’s National Knowledge Network to Bhutan, which will foster closer collaboration between institutes of pre-eminence between two countries.

Early in the morning, Kumar tweeted: “A central pillar of our ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy. Continuing the high-level exchanges between the two countries. This is PM’s second visit to Bhutan and the first since his re-election.”

Kumar also shared on Twitter pictures of Modi’s arrival in Bhutan. “Breathtaking setting for the welcome ceremony as PM Modi lands at Paro airport in Bhutan. As a gesture of extraordinary warmth and goodwill, PM Modi was welcomed by Prime Minister of Bhutan and other ministers.”

Modi in a statement issued before departure on Friday said his government attaches high importance to the Himalayan nation and the visit at the beginning of his current term underpins the solid relations between India and Bhutan.

The visit would further strengthen the valued friendship with Bhutan, and help in carving out a road map for a prosperous future and development of people from the two countries.

“India-Bhutan partnership today is of a special character and substance and forms an important pillar of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy…” Modi said in a statement.

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Mamata ask Congress , Left to join hands to save the country



Kolkata, Jan 27: AFter passing pass a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in its assembly, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged the opposition Congress and the Left Front to unite together against the Bharatiya Janta Party and save the country.

“The time has come to put aside narrow differences and fight together to save the country,” Banerjee said in her address in Assembly on anti-CAA resolution.
Saying that the National Population Register was part of the Census process and was done during the CPM regime.

Asking for support from the Congress and the Left, She quoted the lines of Rabindranath Tagore, indicated that she was ready to go it alone too. “I am prepared to walk alone… Ekla chalo re,” the Chief Minister said.

Mamata Banerjee has said the CAA and the NRC citizenship verification drive can only be enforced in Bengal over her “dead body”.

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European Parliament to vote on anti-CAA , Kashmir resolutions on Jan 30



Anti CAA Protests

Brussels, Jan 27: The European Parliament is set to debate and vote on six resolutions tabled by as many as 600 of 751 members of the EU parliament on both the issues, their greatest concern arising over the likelihood of the controversial citizenship law creating the “largest statelessness crisis in the world”.

The 154 members EP members drafted the five-page resolution fearing that the recently enacted legislation by India could trigger the “largest statelessness crisis in the world.” The Parliament is expected to vote on January 30.

The resolution describes the CAA as “discriminatory” and “dangerously divisive” but also a “violation of India’s international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”.

“However, the legislation has triggered the fears of the Muslim community since its enactment as the naturalisation of non-Muslim refugees, namely undocumented migrants from the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities of Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered India on or before December 31, 2014,” the resolution stated. It also called the CAA “explicitly discriminatory in nature” as it excludes Muslims from having access to the same provisions as other religious groups.

The resolution has also called on the Indian government to ensure the right to peaceful protest is allowed and to guarantee the life and physical integrity of those who choose to protest. In addition, during the debate, the European Parliament will also take up the Kashmir issue.

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Popular Front of India rejects allegations of funding anti- CAA protests



Shaheen Bagh Protests

New Delhi, Jan 27: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has sent a note to the Union ministry of home affairs stating there is a link between protests against the contentious citizenship act, the Kerala-based Popular Front of India has strongly rejected allegations that it had provided financial funding for protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and that money transfers made to some prominent lawyers were part of the organisation’s efforts to fund anti-CAA protests.

Popular Front of India condemned the news reports regarding Popular Front’s financial link to instigate the CAA protest.

In a statement the Popular Front of India slammed “vested interested who are keen to blame Popular Front for everything that is happening in India”, said it would “fully comply with the law of the land”, and demanded that the “baseless” allegations be backed with proof.

Firstly, the news channels have attributed the report to Enforcement Directorate through some “unnamed sources” but the ED has not contacted our organization, nor the ED has issued any such official statement regarding these allegations.
The news attributes around 73 bank accounts to Popular Front and states that Rs. 120 crore was transferred through these “alleged” Popular Front accounts to fund the anti-CAA protest. Popular Front of India had stated it multiple times that we fully comply with the law of the land and the allegation of Rs.120Cr transferred from the Popular Front’s accounts just before the CAA protest is totally baseless and the people who are leveling these allegations should prove these claims.

Secondly, few news channels also alleges funds transferred from the Kerala state Popular Front of India account for advocates like Kapil Sibal, Dushyant Dave and Indira Jaising. This statement exposes the intention of the vested interested who are keen to blame Popular Front for everything that is happening in India. The truth is that transfers were made in 2017 as a lawyer fees for these advocates for the Hadiya Case. This transfer was openly declared by Popular Front in various public meetings. Attributing a fees transfer that happened in 2017 as a funding for 2019 CAA protest is totally absurd and exposes the intention to defame Popular Front.
Another allegation leveled is the transfer of funds to Popular Front’s Kashmir Wing. It is a open fact that Popular Front of India does not have any wing or branch in Jammu and Kashmir. We challenge the so called “Unnamed Sources” to prove that there is any wing of Popular Front working in Kashmir. Popular Front carried out extensive flood relief work in Kashmir in 2014 and built more that 100 houses for the flood victims which was also openly declared by the organization in 2014 itself through official publications. Assigning the 2014 flood relief as 2019 anti-CAA protest funding makes it clear that there is a planned vilification campaign going on against Popular Front to stop our growth.
We are confident that the fate of these series of allegation will also be like the ones before which could never be proved. Recently the UP and Assam government alleged Popular Front’s role in the anti-CAA protest related violence and even arrested our state level leaders. But their claims proved to be nothing but imaginations when they could not prove anything in the court and our leaders were released on bail.
Popular Front will not be bowed down by such cheap campaign by the forces backed by the fascist who want to stop us. We will continue our struggle against the fascist forces who try to suppress the voices of dissent.

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