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Presidential Election : Meira Kumar seeks support from Trinamool, Left, Congress



Meira Kumar

Kolkata, July 4: Opposition’s Presidential candidate Meira Kumar today sought support from the legislators and MPs of West Bengal’s Trinamool Congress, Left and Congress parties.

She stressed on “ideology and ideology alone” as her plank in the presidential contest.

“I have been given assurance that you are supporting me. You have given me so much strength. Kolkata and West Bengal have given me strength and inspiration because it is the land of fighters. You have always fought against injustice and atrocities,” Meira Kumar told the legislators in the West Bengal assembly.

Expressing gratitude to 17 opposition parties for reposing faith in her candidature, she said their unity is based on a firm ideological stand.

“Parties who otherwise differ on so many different things (came together). They have placed tremendous trust in me. This unity of 17 political parties is based on firm ideological positions.

“Ideology, the philosophy, the value system which is so dear to me and which is so dear to most of the people of my country. That is why I have decided to make ideology and ideology alone the plank of this contest,” she said, adding this unity is of “far-reaching importance.”

Meira Kumar also met assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee.

The former Lok Sabha Speaker said she has “an old association with Kolkata and Bengal”.

“I have been inspired by reading the great works of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and Rabindranath Tagore. Their works kept the rejects, the marginalised and downtrodden of the society in the centre and gave them their due dignity and rights. This is the ethos which prevails throughout your beautiful state,” she said.

She appealed for support from the Opposition, dubbing the presidential election an “ideological war”.

“I appeal to them… request them to support me in this ideological war because we stand at the crossroads of history. There is one path which leads to intolerance, fear… there is the other path which leads to, in our multi-religious society, tolerance and more than tolerance, respect for all religious denominations, the abolition of casteism, to the end of poverty, to inclusiveness, transparency and social justice.

“History beckons all the voters of the coming presidential election to think in the best interest of the country, what actually is in the best interests of the most downtrodden and most suppressed of the country. And then vote.”

Asked whether she stood a chance as the arithmetic in the electoral college was in favour of the country’s ruling National Democratic Alliance, she said: “I have appealed to the voice of conscience. In my view, conscience carries much more weight than numbers and in this ideological battle, I am convinced that as we go from day to day more and more people will be convinced about their ideology and listen to their voice of conscience.”

“I am fighting an ideological battle. I am fighting for inclusiveness. I stand on very strong ground. I am fighting this battle with great confidence. I will leave no stone unturned to ensure triumph of my ideologies.”

To a query on her agenda if she wins the contest, she said: “All these years, I have been in public life and even before that, I have dedicated myself for the work of downtrodden, for their dignity, for their rights, and this agenda I will carry on.”



Was any research done before ordinance on Pocso act amendment, asks HC



Delhi High Court

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Monday questioned why the ordinance on amending the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, to provide for death penalty to those convicted of raping a child up to 12 years old, was cleared without conducting any research on the issue.

The observation by a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar came while dealing with a plea seeking to strike down the amendments made in the rape law post the December 16, 2012 Delhi gangrape incident here as they are “being abused”.

Asking if any study or research was conducted while clearing the ordinance on Pocso, the court observed that it seemed to come after people started demanding strict punishment against the rapists of minors.

It said that the ordinance is also silent on granting welfare to the rape victims and does not deal with issues related to educating and sensitising youth and juveniles on sexual offences against women, especially minors.

On Sunday President Ram Nath Kovind approved an ordinance to provide death penalty for those convicted of raping girls younger than 12 years besides clearing another ordinance to confiscate property of fugitive economic offenders.

The President promulgated The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, approved by the Cabinet on Saturday, that seeks to provide effective deterrence against rape and instil a sense of security among women, particularly young girls.

The ordinance amends the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

The ordinance comes against the backdrop of the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir, the rape of a teenager in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh and similar crimes in other parts of the country.

The court, hearing a plea filed by academician Madhu Purnima Kishwar, listed the matter for September.

Kishwar’s plea has sought striking down of some of the provisions of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, which provides for amendments to the Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act and Code of Criminal Procedure on laws related to sexual offences.

The plea had also sought a direction to reconsider the case in which a sentence of imprisonment has been passed post the amendments.

After the gangrape of a 23-year-old woman on December 16, 2012, a committee under the chairmanship of a retired Supreme Court judge was constituted to suggest amendments to the criminal law to sternly deal with sexual assault cases.


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AFSPA removed from Meghalaya, restricted in Arunachal




New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) The Union Home Ministry has removed Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Meghalaya and reduced it to eight police stations in Arunachal Pradesh, an official said on Monday.

“AFSPA was totally withdrawn from all areas of Meghalaya from April 1. In Arunachal, it is down from 16 police stations to eight,” the official said.

The Act has however been extended by another six months in three eastern districts of Arunachal Pradesh — Tirap, Longding and Changlang — which border Myanmar and specific areas under eight police stations of seven other districts bordering Assam. The three districts have been under the AFSPA since January 2016.

The Act was withdrawn from Tripura in 2015 and in past one year, fewer areas in northeast are under the Act, the official said, adding that the Act was only in place in Meghalaya for a 20-km area along the Assam border) and not in operation in Mizoram.

AFSPA gives powers to the Army and central forces deployed in “disturbed areas” to kill anyone acting in contravention of law, arrest and search any premises without a warrant and provide cover to forces from prosecution and legal suits without the Central government’s sanction.

It is effective in the whole of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding seven Assembly constituencies of Imphal). The state governments of Assam and Manipur now have the powers to keep or revoke the Act.


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After flak, Health Ministry removes ‘fat shaming’ tweet



New Delhi, April 23: After witnessing outrage, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Monday removed a tweet that asked people “What’s your choice?” based on a photo that depicted two women — one overweight, depicting non-veg and processed food items and the other lean with fruits and vegetables.

Twitterati immediately slammed the tweet, as some called it “stupidity at its highest” while others “fat shaming”.

While the fat woman depicted food items such as sausage, poultry, meat, burger, donuts, french fries, cola and alcohol, the lean woman showed fruits and green vegetables, along with the tweet from the ministry: “Good nutrition is one of the keys to a #healthy life. Choose wisely, live well”.

“Both veg and non veg can be healthy or unhealthy depending upon their origin, methods of production, distribution, storage etc and in this country, the less said the better about those standards. That’s what you should be focusing on @MoHFW_INDIA,” reacted one user to the ministry’s tweet.

Another user said: “This is fat shaming. Now that you’ve posted it, hope your women Ministers take the lead and set an example!”

Screenshot by India Today

“Stupidity at highest!!! Is Egg ?? and Cheese ?? unhealthy? which scientific study proved it? Moreover where do Poor Indians get Kiwi/Avocado Fruits and Berries? Or is it ment to be for RICH People? ?? As far as all scientific study all packaged foods are bad or unhealthy!!!,” tweeted another user.

One user went further and found the source of the image.

“So, Ministry of Health @MoHFW_INDIA picks up a stock photo which portray eggs, poultry, meat and bread as unhealthy and tweets that as health advice,” the user tweeted.

The photo, copyrighted to Tatsiana Tsyhanova from Belarus, was taken from which offers millions of stock photos but with copyright.

“And they’ve quietly deleted their tweet now,” the user added.

A recent study from the University of Eastern Finland, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, said that a relatively high intake of dietary cholesterol, or eating one egg every day, are not associated with an elevated risk of coronary heart disease.

A University of Connecticut study suggests that eating eggs may actually have favourable effects on good cholesterol metabolism in men and women with diabetes and heart disease.

With Inputs from IANS 

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