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President, PM mourn Punjab train tragedy

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Amritsar Train Accident

New Delhi, Oct 19 : President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders of political parties on Friday expressed shock and grief over a train tragedy that claimed at least 30 lives during a Dussehra celebration in Punjab.

“Heartfelt condolences to bereaved families,” Kovind tweeted after a speeding train ran over a large number of people who were witnessing a Ravan effigy in flames while standing on a railway track.

Modi termed the disaster “heart wrenching”.

“My deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones and I pray that the injured recover quickly. Have asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required,” Modi said.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi asked the Punjab government and party workers to provide relief at the accident site.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said immediate relief and rescue operations were being carried out.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to the Punjab Home Secretary and the Director General of Police of Punjab. He said the Centre would provide all possible assistance to the state.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed grief.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal expressed his pain over the loss of lives and urged his party workers to provide help at the accident site.

CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted: “Shocked… Responsibility and accountability must be fixed at the very top for such accidents.”

India

Delhi riots: Umar Khalid denied permission to meet family in police custody

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Umar Khalid

A Delhi court on Monday dismissed an application filed by former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Umar Khalid, arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, seeking permission to meet his family during police custody.

On September 13, Delhi Police’s Special Cell had arrested Khalid following a case related to the widespread violence which broke out in Delhi’s northeast area in February this year, after which he was sent to police custody for 10 days. His remand period is slated to conclude on September 24.

The former JNU student had knocked on the doors of the court requesting it to allow him to meet his family for two days for a period of 30 minutes each. Khalid’s counsel Trideep Pais informed the court that a verbal assurance was given to them by the police for meeting, but later they were denied permission.

Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad apprised the court that the meeting could influence the interrogation and pose a hindrance. It was submitted that the accused was already meeting with his counsel and if he has to convey any message to his family members, he may convey that through them.

Prasad further asserted that there is no provision in CrPC for allowing the family of the accused to meet with the accused during his custody remand. He has also submitted that meeting is permissible during judicial custody as per jail rules.

“In the totality of facts and circumstances of the case, I see no merit in the application, and accordingly, the application is dismissed,” the Additional Session Judge noted in an order dated September 19.

Prasad had earlier sought 10 days’ police custody of Khalid to confront him with huge technical data running into 11 lakh pages, “as well as other evidence collected during investigation of present case and also to examine at length about other suspects and various other aspects.”

Khalid is accused of hatching a criminal conspiracy to cause communal unrest by inciting people protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens.

Besides this, Khalid is also named in chargesheets filed in various cases over the riots. Communal violence broke out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after clashes between CAA supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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India

Pak violates ceasefire on LoC in J&K’s Poonch

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Jammu and Kashmir Shopian Indian Army

Pakistan resorted to unprovoked firing and intense shelling in three sectors on the Line of Control on Monday in J&K’s Poonch district.

Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Devender Anand said at about 2.30 p.m. Pakistan initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing with small arms and intense shelling with mortars along the LoC in Shahpur, Kirni and Qasba sectors of Poonch district.

“The Indian Army is retaliating befittingly,” the spokesman said.

Pakistan has been violating the bilateral ceasefire agreement with impunity since the beginning of this year.

24 civilians have been killed and over 100 injured in over 3,186 ceasefire violations by Pakistan on the LoC in J&K since January this year.

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Govt to move six Bills in LS for passage on Monday

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Parliament of India

The central government is slated to move six Bills, including four pertaining to ordinances, for passage in the Lok Sabha on Monday. These Bills will be moved soon after the House assembles for the day at 3 pm.

The Bills are related to the Ministries of Home Affairs, Finance, and Health.

These are the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020; Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020; Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020; Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020; Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020; and Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

As per the legislative Business of the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Amit Shah’s name is listed to move the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020, for passage.

The FCRA Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Sunday to make earlier law more stringent and make Aadhaar number mandatory for registration and give government powers to stop utilisation of foreign funds by an organisation through a “summary enquiry”.

The Bill, which seeks amendment to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, proposes to include “public servants” in the prohibited category and decrease administrative expenses through foreign funds by an organisation to 20 per cent from 50 per cent earlier.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will move the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, as passed by the Rajya Sabha, for consideration and passage.

The Bill will replace the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated by the President on June 5 this year.

She will also move the Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for consideration and passage. The Bill provides amendment to the Factoring Regulation Act, 2011.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will move the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for consideration and passage. The Bill seeks amendment to the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, as passed by the Rajya Sabha. The Bill will replace the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated by the President on April 22 this year.

The Minister will also move the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for passage. The Bill seeks amendment to the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973, as passed by the Rajya Sabha. It will replace the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated by the President on April 24 this year.

Harsh Vardhan will later move the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for its passage. The Bill seeks to amend the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970, as passed by the Rajya Sabha. It will replace the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 which was promulgated by the President on April 24 this year.

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