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Power politics at play on Bal Thackeray’s death anniversary



Bal Thackeray-

Mumbai, Nov 17 Amidst the tussle to form the government in Maharashtra, power politics was in full swing on the seventh death anniversary of Shiv Sena founder late Balasaheb Thackeray, here on Sunday.

For the first time, leaders of the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) paid homage to Bal Thackeray, both through messages and by making personal visits to Shiv Tirth, the memorial at Shivaji Park in Dadar west.

The leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Sena’s former ally, also joined in to pay rich tributes to the late Sena supremo.

The day started with thousands of Shiv Sainiks from across Maharashtra queuing up at the Shiv Tirth to offer tributes to the charismatic leader, who passed away on this day in 2012.

NCP President Sharad Pawar, who was in Pune for a party meeting, paid rich tributes to Bal Thackeray with whom he shared a warm and personal friendship.

“Balasaheb Thackeray raised his voice for the self-respect and pride of ‘Marathi Manoos’. He was a courageous personality and a unique orator who enjoyed the endless affection of his followers. We bow down to him,” Pawar said.

Later, NCP state President Jayant Patil, former Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and senior leader Jitendra Awhad paid their respects at Shivaji Park.

An erstwhile close confidante of the late leader, Bhujbal was seen getting emotional and he later recalled the relationship he enjoyed with the late Thackeray.

Congress leaders, including Bhai Jagtap, came and paid homage and recalled Bal Thackeray’s services to the state and the people of Maharashtra.

Subsequently, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, his wife Rashmi, sons Aditya and Tejas, other family members and top party leaders visited Shivaji Park and offered floral tributes at the statue of Bal Thackeray.

Sometime later, former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis — who earlier tweeted “Balasaheb has taught us self-respect” with a video — accompanied by his former ministerial colleagues Vinod Tawade and Pankaja Munde paid floral tributes.

They did not go inside the Shiv Tirth memorial where several Sena leaders were present, but quickly left as some Shiv Sainiks were seen shouting ‘Mee punha yaeen’ (I will return), the poll slogan of Fadnavis, and ‘Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki Jai’, Sena’s war cry.

Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said that Bal Thackeray had shown the path of ‘Hindutva’ to the party and the country. “Shiv Sena had promised its own CM to him (Bal Thackeray), and you will see that dream being realised soon,” Raut said.

The Congress-NCP and Sena are currently engaged in finalising their upcoming alliance before forming the state government.

A stunned BJP is still hoping that the Sena will have a change of heart and come around, but is simultaneously claiming that it will form the government despite having 105 MLAs, plus reportedly the support of 14 others, including Independents.

To give final touches to the alliance with Sena, Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi and NCP President Sharad Pawar are scheduled to meet in New Delhi on Tuesday, senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar said.

Signalling a formal split, the Sena did not attend a crucial NDA meet on Sunday, while the party’s MPs in the Parliament have been given a new seating arrangement with the Opposition for the winter session starting Monday.

Revered in the state as ‘Balasaheb’, the late Bal Thackeray was a cartoonist-turned-politician who founded the Shiv Sena in 1966 to raise the voice of the Marathi people. He became one of the biggest political figures in the state for the next five decades till his demise in 2012 at the age of 86.


Waning faith in system dangerous for nation: Hazare



anna hazare

Ahmednagar, Dec 9 : Expressing concerns over delays in punishment in rape cases, veteran social crusader Kisan Baburao alias Anna Hazare here on Monday said no rapist had been hanged since August 14, 2005 in West Bengal and 426 convicts were awaiting the hangman’s noose.

“Since then (2005), not a single death penalty has been executed for any such (rape) convict, awarded the death. There are 426 convicts awaiting execution,” Hazare said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The 82-year-old social leader asked who was accountable when – despite conviction – the punishment was not being implemented. He demanded a probe into this and stringent action against those responsible for such delays.

“People have started feeling that the delays, obstacles and difficulties in getting justice through the system is itself an injustice. This is the reason for the mass support to the recent Hyderabad encounters. People now want such criminals should be eliminated in such encounters,” Hazare said.

Citing his own experiences over legal delays, the Ralegan-Siddhi village-based social activist said he had raised corruption issue with adequate evidences against former Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party Minister Babanrao Gholap in 1998. He was convicted in 2014.

Same was the case with another former Minister Suresh Jain against whom he had complained with proof in 2003. But only after 14-long years he (Jain) recently received a 7-year jail-term.

“Gholap filed a defamation case against me and I was sentenced to 3-month jail, but released after 15 days. Jain also filed such cases against me and I have been attending hearings since so many years,” Hazare said.

Also, after taking so long to get the verdict from the lower courts, it’s not known how much more time would be taken for appeals (filed by the two ex-Ministers) in these cases to be disposed, he pointed out.

Despite strengthening of laws after the Nirbhaya episode in New Delhi, we had failed to ensure justice to her, and such cases against even minor girls were on the rise, he said.

“I am told over 700,000 cases are pending for 7-10 years in fast-track courts, the 1091 helpline for women in distress doesn’t function efficiently, Nirbhaya Fund remains unused. What’s the meaning of all this,” Hazare remarked.

He lamented that instead of sympathising with the women victims’, the ordeal would begin right from the stage of lodging a complaint with the police, as was proved in the recent Hyderabad rape-cum-murder case of a veterinary doctor.

Reiterating that ‘justice delayed is justice denied’, the social worker said despite having an exemplary Constitution drafted by B.R. Ambedkar, apprehensions were building up and people were losing faith in the justice system.

“If this is not checked, it could lead to mass public unrest, which will not augur well for our democracy,” Hazare remarked.

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Form full-bench to review Ayodhya verdict: 40 petitioners

The petition contended that the balance of probabilities was erroneously observed to be in favour of the Hindu parties by the apex court.



Ayodhya Babri Masji Supreme Court

New Delhi, Dec 9 : A group of 40 historians, academics and activists, including Irfan Habib, Harsh Mander, Nandini Sundar, Shabnam Hashmi and Akar Patel, has moved the Supreme Court seeking a full-bench review of its November 9 judgement in Ayodhya title dispute.

“The faith of one of the communities was consequently regarded higher than the other, thereby violating the secular principle embedded in the Constitution”, said the petitioners.

The review petition urged the apex court to institute a full bench for hearing the review petition, as this is not merely a title dispute but “a contestation about the core of India’s constitutional morality, and the principles of equal citizenship, secularism, justice, rule of law and fraternity.”

The petition contended that the balance of probabilities was erroneously observed to be in favour of the Hindu parties by the apex court.

The top court through its judgement ordered construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site and allocated five-acre land elsewhere in Ayodhya for the construction of the mosque.

The petition said the top court erred in coming to a conclusion based on the fact that Hindus had proved to be worshipping in the outer courtyard since 1857, but also proved to worship in the inner courtyard prior to 1857, and the Muslim parties failed to prove exclusive possession of the inner courtyard.

The petition said: “However, the court failed to appreciate that neither parties had proved exclusive ownership of the land.” Instead, the court provided exclusive ownership of the disputed land to the Hindu worshippers, and completely excluded Muslim worshippers from access to the land.

The petition said that the court did not acknowledge in its judgment the wanton debasement of the law in the two cases, desecration of the mosque by illegally placing idols and then demolition of the mosque.

“It (top court) also overlooks that these crimes took the toll of hundreds of innocent lives in communal violence that rocked the country from 1989 to early 1993, and that their unhealed wounds continue to tear apart the country decades later”, said the petition.

“The court by categorically ruling in favour of the so-called Hindu parties provided legal recognition of these illegal acts. Because of this, the court’s decision is dangerously complicit in the violation of constitutional principles,” said the review petition challenging the Ayodhya judgement.

Earlier, a clutch of review petitions were filed by Muslim parties. Five review petitions have been supported by All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

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AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi tears Citizenship Bill in Parliament



asaduddin owaisi

New Delhi, Dec 9 : All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday tore the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha while participating in a debate, calling it “arbitrary in nature” and “against the Muslim community”.

The Hyderabad MP tore a copy of the Bill after expressing his objection over its nature, saying “secularism is the basic structure of the Constitution and the Bill was arbitrary in nature and was in violation of fundamental rights.”

He accused the government of moving the Bill against the Muslim community and tore a copy of the Bill declaring that “I am tearing this Bill”.

He said that Home Minister Amit Shah should be prevented from carrying out this enactment, saying “if you does not do it, you will be compared with David Ben Gurion, the founder of the Jewist state of Israel, and Hitler.”

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