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PM Modi to reach Kerala over CM Chandy invitation row

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Prime minister Narendra Modi will begin his two-day visit to Kerala today and will arrive in Kerala’s port city of Kochi in afternoon amid a raging controversy over chief minister Oommen Chandy’s name being omitted from the ceremonies. This will be his first to the state after assuming office as in May last year.

During his two-day visit, the first to the state as prime minister, Modi is expected to clear the air about the omission that the Congress has blamed the BJP central leadership and Prime Minister’s Office for.

Modi will travel to the temple town of Thrissur on Monday to address a workers meet that state BJP leaders say will have nearly two lakh workers in attendance. Prominent religious leaders like the Thrissur Arch Bishop and the Maulavi of Kodungaloor Cheraman Masjid, one of the oldest mosques in the country, have also been invited.

Chandy, who was invited as one of the main the guests initially, was apparently asked to skip the unveiling of the statue of former chief minister R Shankar that the prime minister will preside over, citing it was a private function. The unveiling will take place in south Kollam district on Tuesday.

Chandy’s name was initially inscribed on a marble plaque for the event. But the plaque was replaced with another carrying the name of the backward Ezhava leader, Vellapally Natesan, and the general secretary of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP).

With the change in guests and subsequent boycott of MPs, Modi, who was earlier slotted for 15 minutes, will address the function for up to 35 minutes.

Taking potshots at critics, Natesan said, “If the prime minister speaks more, it is better for the state and backward communities.”

However, the Congress is hoping to corner the BJP over the issue, and will observe a prayer meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, blaming the prime minister for “slighting the state”.

Kollam MP, N K Premachandran and MLA P K Gurudasan and mayor V Rajendra Babu are among those boycotting the function.

The Congress’ main concern at the moment is the BJP hijacking the legacy of R Shankar who was a prominent leader of the party, hailing from the backward Ezhava community.

With four months left for crucial assembly elections in Kerala, the state BJP is counting on PM Modi to set the tone for its campaign and hopes to give a tough three-cornered contest in at least 30 seats.

The prime minister will also visit the Sivagiri Mutt, birthplace of social reformer Sree Narayana Guru.

According to the police, about 2,000 officers headed by five superintendents have been deployed to ensure security.

Modi will also attend a commanders’ meet off the coast of Kochi on Tuesday before he leaves Kerala.

Wefornews Bureau

India

FIR against 2,200 for involvement in Republic Day violence near Faridabad, no arrests yet

The FIR has been registered against 2,000 to 2,200 people moving on 350 to 400 tractors, who became violent with police officers, broke barricades and containers, and blocked the National Highway between 11.30 am and 12 pm near Softa village in Gadpuri, police said.

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Red Fort Farmers

A day after the tractor parade by farmers protesting against the recently passed three agriculture reform laws turned violent on January 26, an FIR has been filed against more than 2,000 persons over involvement in the incident.

The case against almost 2,200 protesting farmers was lodged after the head constable posted at the Gadpuri Police Station filed a complaint, reported The Indian Express.

The FIR has been registered under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), namely, sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 307 (attempt to murder), and 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees).

Sub-Inspector Hanish Khan, who is investigating the case, said: “The FIR has been registered against 2,000 to 2,200 people moving on 350 to 400 tractors, who became violent with police officers, broke barricades, and containers, and blocked the National Highway between 11.30 am and 12 pm near Softa village in Gadpuri. We are still investigating the matter and are yet to identify the accused or make any arrests.”

Notably, the FIR was lodged against those who were part of the tractor rally and had tried entering Faridabad to move towards Delhi. They were later talked into returning to Palwal.

Faridabad has since been under curfew with Section 144 being imposed “due to apprehension of any tension, damage to public property, and loss of life”.

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Cities

Post violence, Lal Quila metro station closed, entry to Jama Masjid station restricted

“Services at Delhi Metro stations, which were closed yesterday, had resumed late night. Lal Quila station has been closed again and entry to Jama Masjid station is restricted as of now. Normal services are there at all other stations,” a senior DMRC official said.

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A day after violence broke out during the farmers’ tractor parade in the national capital, Delhi Metro authorities on Wednesday shut the Lal Quila station and restricted entry to the Jama Masjid station amid heavy security deployment at the Red Fort.

A large number of metro stations in central, north and west Delhi areas, including Lal Quila, ITO, Jama Masjid, Delhi Gate, Indraprastha, were shut on Tuesday soon after the tractor parade had taken a violent turn.

“Services at Delhi Metro stations, which were closed yesterday, had resumed late night. Lal Quila station has been closed again and entry to Jama Masjid station is restricted as of now. Normal services are there at all other stations,” a senior DMRC official said.

Security has been beefed up in several places across the national capital especially at the Red Fort and farmer protest sites, with deployment of additional paramilitary forces following the violence.

Delhi Metro also took to social media to inform commuters.

First it tweeted in the morning that “Entry gates of Lal Quila metro station are closed. Exit is permitted at this station. All other stations are open. Normal services on all lines”.

Later in another tweet, it updated that “Entry/exit gates of Lal Quila metro station are closed. Entry gates of Jama Masjid metro station are closed”.

Average waiting time at Saket metro station on Yellow Line was 35 minutes. In case of any fluctuations in crowd, the waiting time will be informed accordingly, the DMRC had informed in another tweet.

However, in a successive tweet, it said: “Peak Hour Update The average waiting time for Saket has normalised”.

The Delhi Metro currently operates on a network of about 390 kilometres with 285 stations spanning 11 corridors (including NOIDA – Greater NOIDA).

The tractor parade on Tuesday that was to highlight the demands of the farmer unions to repeal three new agri laws dissolved into anarchy on the streets of the city as tens of thousands of protesters broke through barriers, fought with police, overturned vehicles and hoisted a religious flag from the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort.

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Delhi Police detains 200 people in connection with tractor rally anarchy

According to police, the detained people are being questioned. Police said they are likely to detain and question more people in connection with Tuesday’s violence in the national capital.

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Delhi Police Security

The Delhi Police has detained 200 people in connection with the violence during the farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day, officials said on Wednesday.

According to police, the detained people are being questioned. Police said they are likely to detain and question more people in connection with Tuesday’s violence in the national capital.

Tens of thousands of farmers broke barriers to storm the national capital on Tuesday, their tractor parade to highlight their demands dissolving into unprecedented scenes of anarchy as they fought with police, overturned vehicles and delivered a national insult – hoisting a religious flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort, a privilege reserved for India’s tricolour.

The Delhi Police has registered 22 FIRs so far in connection with the violence that left over 300 policemen injured, officials said on Wednesday.

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