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Whatever I have to say, I will say in Nagpur: Pranab

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Pranab-Mukherjee

New Delhi, June 2 : Breaking his silence on accepting an invitation to attend an RSS event at its Nagpur headquarters on June 7, former President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said whatever he has to say, he will say in Nagpur only.

“Whatever I have to say, I will say in Nagpur. I have received several letters, requests and phone calls, but I haven’t responded to anyone yet,” Mukherjee was quoted as saying by Bengali newspaper Anandabazar Patrika.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has invited Mukherjee to be the chief guest at the concluding function of “Tritiya Varsh Varg” or third-year course and address the Swayamsevaks’ on June 7.

The RSS invite to Mukherjee sparked off a controversy, as the Congress leaders expressed unhappiness over his acceptance, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Sangh saw nothing wrong in it.

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also wrote to Mukherjee requesting him not to attend the RSS event.

Earlier, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram had urged him to take the opportunity to tell the RSS what is wrong with their ideology.

“Now that he has accepted the invitation, there is no point in debating why he accepted it.

“The more important thing to say is, Sir you have accepted invitation, please go there and tell them what is wrong with their ideology,” the former Union Minister had said.

Another former Union Minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief in a letter to Mukherjee had urged him to reconsider his decision and avoid attending the event in the interest of secularism.

Expressing surprise over former President Pranab Mukherjee’s decision to attend an RSS event, West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury had said he was unable to relate the visit with Mukherjee’s previous comments against the Sangh Parivar and other Hindutva forces.

“My question is does he (Mukherjee) think his previous comments against RSS were wrong? We remember how Pranab Mukherjee as a senior leader of the Congress had come down heavily on RSS as a communal and a divisive organisation,” he had said.

“I am surprised to hear about Pranab Mukherjee’s decision to attend RSS’s function in Nagpur. Just like any other Congressman, I am astonished too,” Chowdhury, who has shared a long association with Mukherjee, said.

India

2 terrorists killed in Kashmir encounter

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Jammu and Kashmir Shopian Indian Army

Security forces and terrorists have engaged in a massive encounter in Sirhama in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district. As per preliminary reports, heavy exchange of fire has been reported from the area where the encounter broke out last night.

The Kashmir Zone Police has said that two Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists have been killed in the encounter.

“Incriminating material, including arms and ammunition, have been recovered. A search operation is currently underway,” the police said.

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Cutting across party lines, farmers protest in Punjab, Haryana

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Heavy police force has been deployed in both the states to deal with any untoward situation.

Even shopkeepers in most of the major towns in both the states shut their shops expressing solidarity with the farmers.

In a first-of-its-kind show of solidarity, 31 farmer organisations in Punjab announced a joint protest.

Several trains have been suspended since Thursday as farmers began a three-day ‘rail roko’ campaign against the Bills.

The Ferozepur Railway division decided to suspend operation of special trains till September 26 in view of the safety of passengers, a rail official told IANS.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has appealed to all political parties to rise above “petty considerations” and come on one platform to fight unitedly against the “treacherous” Bills that would destroy the state’s farmers.

“The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union Government has stooped to a new low by bringing these Bills, and that too in a totally undemocratic and unparliamentary manner,” said Amarinder Singh, adding that his government, supported by the Congress state unit, will oppose the Legislations tooth and nail in the interest of not just the farmers and the state but the entire country.

He has appealed to the farmers to strictly maintain law and order, and adhere to all Covid-19 safety protocols.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), an ally of the BJP-led NDA government, announced a statewide ‘chakka jam’ to mark their protest.

The SAD has been a longstanding ally of the ruling BJP. SAD’s Lok Sabha MP and Sukhbir Badal’s wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal had resigned from the Union Cabinet on September 17, citing her party’s opposition to the three Bills.

Interestingly, many Punjabi singers have extended their support to the ‘bandh’ call given by farmers.
Popular Punjabi singer and actor Harbhajan Mann in a tweet said he along with several other artists would be participating in the protest.

In Haryana, activists of the Bharatiya Kisan Union activists along with sacked physical training instructors showed black flags to Agriculture Minister J.P. Dalal on Thursday in Mudlana village in Sonepat district.

Terming the Farm Bills as a ‘revolutionary step’, Haryana BJP state chief O.P. Dhankar said these would open up multiple options for farmers to sell their produce.

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Delhi Police tightens security amid farmers’ protest

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Delhi-Ghaziabad border

New Delhi: The Delhi Police have tightened the security at the border areas in the wake of the Bharat Bandh called by over two dozen farmer organisations on Friday.

Barricades have been put in areas bordering Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, and the vehicles entering Delhi are being checked. The Delhi Police and paramilitary forces have been deployed at the Singhu border and Karnal road (Haryana) as a precautionary measure.

“Our teams are alert and vigilant at the border areas and the staff has been deployed at strategic locations in the wake of farmers’ protest” said a senior police officer.

Deployment has also been made in Ghazipur, New Ashok Nagar, Seemapuri, Anand Vihar in East Delhi and Kalindi Kunj in South east Delhi in view of the farmers’ protest.

Apart from border areas, the Delhi Police is also vigilant for the possible snap protests in Delhi. The Delhi Police earlier said that no demonstrations would be allowed in the national capital till September 30, citing an earlier order of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA).

Over two dozen farmer organisations have announced support for the ‘Bandh call’ on Friday to protest against the Farm Bills passed by Parliament amid protests by 18 political parties. The 31 farmer organisations in Punjab and Haryana are already protesting.

All India Farmers Union (AIFU), Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), All India Kisan Mahasangh (AIKM), and All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) and other politically-backed organisations have urged farmers to hold rallies, blockades in various parts of the country to protest against the three Farm bills which were passed by the government during the Parliament session that concluded earlier this week.

–IANS

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