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PDP may hit streets to seek Mehbooba Mufti’s release, says party leader

Just to exercise their own power, the BJP has silenced Mehbooba Mufti by keeping her in detention using extreme laws, said Youth PDP president Waheed ur Rehman Parra.

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Mehbooba Mufti

The PDP says it may take to streets to secure party chief Mehbooba Mufti’s release – who has been in detention under the Public Safety Act since August last year – if all other means do not yield results. In an interview to HT’s Mir Ehsan, Youth PDP president Waheed ur Rehman Parra conceded that the party definitely took a hit by the desertions, but asserted that it will bounce back with its core philosophy. Reflecting on the new Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, the leader said he is “making efforts”. The PDP recently resumed political activity after they were allowed to hold two big meetings in Srinagar.

Q. The PDP organised its first meeting after August 5 last year, what was discussed in the meeting?

It was much more than a meeting. It was an attempt to free oneself from unofficial house arrest. We discussed August 5, 2019, and the post-scenario, insecurities and challenges confronting people. We strongly reject unconstitutional, undemocratic treatment meted out to Kashmir.

Q. Are all the PDP leaders free?

Yes, except Party President Mehbooba Mufti.

Q. Do you think, government is trying to stop the PDP from resuming its activities?

This sense of unfreedom, absence of democracy and absence of politics is self-created by the BJP. Not just the PDP, the entire Kashmir is being treated similarly. The only difference is that the PDP continues to be on their target and they continue to attack it by using tactics for limiting our space. They want a BJP narrative here and help them gain ground at the cost of local parties, especially the PDP. At a time when we as a population desperately need 4G communication for education and healthcare sectors, the BJP is busy politicising 4G for the sake of their personal agendas of letting no dissenting voices escape this space. Is this what integration looks like? Rest of India studies and heals but Kashmiris are deprived everyday for every little opportunity.

Q. After August 5, many leaders, especially former ministers and legislators, left the PDP, do you think it has weakened the party?

Yes, many have left, such exits disclose a pattern which reveals that this episode was engineered by the politically macho to thwart PDP efforts and subvert its strength. Those who have exited, have been responsible for eroding party space by all means and when nothing worked finally created factions. The party is definitely affected but it will bounce back with its core philosophy, not by losing individuals.

Q. Why is PDP president Mehbooba Mufti still under detention while all other leaders released?

Mehbooba Mufti cannot be threatened or coerced into serfdom. They treat her stance and voice as a challenge to their politics. The attempt to install puppets is not what democracy is. The BJP should be ready to accept real political challenges. Just to exercise their own power they are keeping her silenced using extreme laws. If one wants to really see what Kashmiri politics will look like, they can’t understand even the mood of the people until she’s free and hits the ground. It is difficult to control Mehbooba Mufti and BJP knows it very well. They failed to control her while in alliance and that must be their concern and fear.

Q. Is the PDP trying to launch an agitation to press the government to release the party president?

Yes, we have approached the Supreme Court. If it doesn’t work, we will raise our voice democratically. And if need arises, we will be forced to hit streets to seek her release.

Q. Do you have hope from the new Lt Governor?

He is definitely making efforts at his level but it is too small an institution to address our anxiety, anger or our problems. People want the PM to respond to Kashmir and his silence is definitely not acceptable here. This is a negative and controlled peace.

Q. Being a youth leader what is the feeling of youth in J&K and what should New Delhi do?

There is a huge sense of resentment among young people, but they are scared and suffocated. Silence in itself is a statement.It is the level of disappointment among youngsters towards Delhi. The Centre should come out of denial and address the issues, talk politically, initiate dialogue with all stakeholders.

Q. Is it true security and government accommodation of many PDP leaders have been withdrawn?

All of our leaders are out of government accommodation and without security cover. One or two PSOs have been assigned to protect a few leaders but that is negligible cover. Given the present circumstances or as per SOP followed earlier. Security is not a privilege here but a survival of means to ensure democratic space. It is for the first time, we see the state using security as a tool to undermine us and empower a select group of people at the cost of our life.

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Politics

Rahul Gandhi Exempted From Court Appearance In Defamation Case

Rahul Gandhi is facing the case for calling Amit Shah a “murder accused” at an election rally in Rajasthan before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

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Rahul Gandhi

Ahmedabad: A court in Ahmedabad on Tuesday granted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi a permanent exemption from appearance in a criminal defamation case he is facing over remarks against Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate RB Etaliya allowed Mr Gandhi’s plea seeking exemption, his lawyer said.

The Congress leader is facing the case for calling Mr Shah a “murder accused” at an election rally in Rajasthan before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Mr Gandhi’s lawyer had last September sought permanent exemption from appearance before the court for his client, stating that he was a leader of a national political party and had a busy schedule.

Hearing on the plea was delayed first due to adjournments sought by the lawyer for the complainant, BJP corporator Krishnavadan Brahmbhatt.

When Mr Brahmbhatt’s lawyer SV Raju was appointed Additional Solicitor General of India, and consequently needed permission of the Union Ministry of Law and Justice to appear in the case, it caused further delay.

The order on Mr Gandhi’s plea for permanent exemption from appearance is another criminal defamation case, filed by Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank and its Chairman Ajay Patel, is also reserved for order by another city court, said Mr Gandhi’s lawyer PS Champaneri.

In the present case, Mr Brahmbhatt has said in his complaint that the slur used by Mr Gandhi was slanderous as Mr Shah was discharged in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh fake encounter case in 2015.

In January 2020, Mr Gandhi appeared before the court and pleaded “not guilty”. He was granted bail.

Ajay Patel’s complaint of defamation is about Mr Gandhi’s claim that the cooperative bank was involved in a “scam” where scrapped currency of ₹ 750 crore was swapped with valid currency within five days of demonetization in 2016.

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Election

Will Spend 22% Of Budget On Education: Tejashwi Yadav

Tejashwi Yadav said the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) neither conducts any exam on time nor does it announce results on time.

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Rahul Gandhi Tejashwi Yadav PIC

Patna: RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav Tuesday said if voted to power he will raise the upper age limit for all categories of the BPSC aspirants, and also asserted his government will spend 22 per cent of the state’s budget on education.

At his party’s “Naukari Samwad” programme here, he also slammed the Centre for “privatising” every other sector in the country and said if voted to power he will end privatisation in Bihar.

Tejashwi Yadav, who was declared as the chief ministerial candidate of the opposition Grand Alliance, has been building up his poll campaign on the plank of jobs after announcing that if voted to power they would approve 10 lakh jobs in the government in the very first cabinet of the new government.

He said the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) neither conducts any exam on time nor does it announce results on time.

“Now youths are waiting outside BPSC office, asking if the results for the 2014 exams have been announced,” he alleged, adding many aspirants don’t get to write the exams as they cross the eligible age limit because of the “delay” by the BPSC.

“If the BPSC is late (in conducting exams and announcing results), why should youth of Bihar suffer?” he asked.

“We will raise the age limits for general as well as reserved category candidates,” he said.

He also said, “It is our firm commitment to end the contract system and employ people on permanent basis.”

“The youth and students of Bihar are completely disappointed with the Nitish government,” he said.

Earlier in the day, while addressing a rally in Sahebganj assembly constituency, he said if voted to power “we will spend 22 percent of the total budget on education.”

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Election

PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi In Bihar Today For Second Round Of Campaigning

PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi had kicked off their campaign in battleground Bihar on Friday last week.

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Rahul Gandhi PM modi

Patna: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will visit Bihar on Wednesday to campaign for their respective alliances in the high-voltage state assembly polls.

This will be the second electoral visit of the two leaders to Bihar. Both of them had plunged into campaigning for the three-phased state assembly elections on October 23 and addressed a series of rallies.

PM Modi will address three public meetings at Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur and Patna to garner support for the NDA nominees in constituencies that will go to the polls in the second phase on November 3.

Rahul Gandhi, who will visit Bihar on the same day as the prime minister, will address rallies at Valmiki Nagar and Kusheshwar Asthan in Darbhanga district to canvass for the Grand Alliance.

The by-poll to Valmiki Nagar Lok Sabha seat will be held on November 3 along with the second round of voting in the state elections.

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PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi had kicked off their campaign in battleground Bihar on Friday last week. While PM Modi had addressed three back to back rallies at Dehri-On-Sone in Rohtas district, Gaya and Bhagalpur, the Congress leader had his meetings at Hisua in Nawada and Kahalgaon in Bhagalpur district.

The two leaders had gone attacked each other over the Chinese intrusion in Ladakh and both cried “insult” to soldiers and their families. The abrogation of Article 370, farm sector reform laws, “jungle raj” during the 15 years of RJD dispensation, the migrant crisis and joblessness too figured prominently in the bitter electoral discourse.

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