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Referendum 2020 rally : Britain says people have right to protest

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New Delhi, Aug 10 : Replying to the couple of demarches sent by India to the UK over the pro-Khakistan rally scheduled to be held in London on August 12, the British High Commission in a statement made it clear that  people in Britain have the right to protest provided they stay within the limits of the law.

British High commission said,”People in UK have right to protest & demonstrate, provided they act within law. Should a protest contravene law, police have comprehensive powers to deal with activities that spread hate or deliberately raise tensions through violence or public disorder.”

“This does not negate the right to peaceful protest. The use of these powers and the management of demonstrations are an operational matter for the police, ”  British High commission added.

An organisation named Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) is holding the rally which it says is intended to raise awareness for a non-binding referendum in 2020, calling for the Sikh-majority state of Punjab to be granted independence.

Scores of people gathered outside the British High Commission in the national capital to protest against the ‘Referendum 2020’ campaign organised by a US-based separatist Sikh organisation that is slated to be held in London on August 12.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that the Referendum 2020 rally would promote communal disharmony and propagate secessionism.

Amid the row with the UK over a pro-Khalistan rally to be held at Trafalgar Square on August 12, MEA has instructed the Indian missions in countries such as Canada, Australia and the US, having large Sikh diaspora presence, that radical outfits could try to hold similar events there to fan secessionist sentiments.

India on Thursday said it is for Britain to decide whether to allow an event that seeks to promote violence and secessionism.

“We have drawn their (Britain’s) attention to the fact that the event in London is a separatist activity, which impinges on India’s territorial integrity,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a media briefing here.

“We have said that it seeks to propagate violence, secessionism and hatred.

AlATF chairman MS Bitta termed the Referendum 2020 campaign “a mere drama”, and claimed that Pakistan’s ISI was fueling anti-India and pro-Khalistan activities.

Demonstrators from the Sikh community and civil society under the banner of All India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) chanted anti-UK and anti-Pakistan slogans and were seen holding banners that read – “UK supporting ISI project code name ‘Express'” and “Don’t shelter ISI and Pakistan sponsored elements.”

 

Britain’s left-wing Green Party has already thrown its support behind the pro-Khalistan rally planned at Trafalgar Square in London.

 

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Jaitley rejects Congress’ demand for JPC on Rafale

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Arun Jaitley

New Delhi, Dec 14 : Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday rejected the Congress’ demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Rafale aircraft deal and said the “family” was not above the Supreme Court in a democracy.

Addressing a press conference here with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hours after the Supreme Court dismissed petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the purchase of 36 Rafale jet fighters, Jaitley said the apex court verdict was absolute and conclusive and the “truth in such matters come from judicial process and not on the basis of political partisan lines”.

“Was there any partiality in the deal? Was nation’s security compromised? Was the due process not followed? Truth in such cases is found through judicial process and not by dividing on partisan basis. Investigations can never be done and reviews of this can never be done by a body of partisan division,” he said.

Jaitley referred to the JPC over Bofors guns deal and said it was divided on political lines and conclusions of its chairman were subsequently rejected by courts.

He did not name Congress President Rahul Gandhi but accused him of spreading lies and attacked him repeatedly.

“In politics all over the world there is a tradition that if you lie, you resign or can be impeached. Presidents have been impeached for speaking lies. At least this should happen. Till yesterday Congress was demanding a discussion on Rafale. Today we said start it immediately. Those who built untruth, they should keep it in Parliament,” he said.

Asked about Gandhi’s allegation of crony capitalism, he said “people not able to understand complex issues rely on such slogans”.

“That is my understanding of his politics,” Jaitley said and termed Gandhi’s allegations of procedures not being followed in the deal as “fiction writing”.

Asked about the Congress stance that judiciary was not the right forum to decide about the deal, Jaitley alleged that the narrative was being created by Nehru-Gandhi family.

“They refuse to accept even the Supreme Court verdict just because of falsehood created by a family. In our democracy, family is not above the Supreme Court. Do they think the untruth of a family is above the Supreme Court?”

He said there was a fundamental difference between truth and falsehood.

“The truth always holds together, explains everything but falsehood was bound to fall apart, indeed it has a short life. In this case, it is few months. Falsehood lowers credibility of creator. The Rafale issue had each of these features. The disrupters have lost and lost on all counts,” he said.

Jaitley said the Congress lost on the count that the need for the fighter jet was “acute and necessary”.

“Why was national security compromised, the need of Indian Air Force compromised,” he asked.

Rejecting charges about the government’s involvement in the award of offsets, he said government had nothing to do with it and Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale fighter jet, had taken the decision.

Asked about the different prices given by the government and by Rahul Gandhi of the Rafale fighter jet, Jaitley said “government is correct and all figures given by Rahul Gandhi are wrong”.

He said the government had stated that the price of basic Rafale fighter was nine per cent cheaper compared to the cost negotiated by the UPA government and that of weaponised aircraft was 20 per cent cheaper at 2016 prices.

He said escalation clauses in the agreement were differently worded and there would be further increase in prices. “Truth only has one version. Falsehood has many,” Jaitley said.

Sitharaman said if the Congress does not stop its allegations, it will also be exposed politically.

The Congress on Friday accused the government of trying to hide its “theft” in the Rafale deal behind the court ruling and persisted with its demand for a JPC inquiry.

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RAW and IB chiefs’ tenure extended

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RAW and IB chiefs

New Delhi, Dec 14: The central government on Friday extended by six months the tenure of A.K. Dhasmana, Secretary, Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) and Rajiv Jain, Director, Intelligence Bureau (IB).

The extensions were approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

Jain’s tenure was to end on December 30 and that of Dhasmana on December 29.

The ACC also re-designated NITI Aayog advisor as “Principal Advisor.”

IANS

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Sexual exploitation of women now criminal offence in Jammu and Kashmir

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rape abuse exploitation harassment
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Jammu, Dec 14: Jammu and Kashmir on Friday became the first state to have a law explicitly banning sexual exploitation of woman by those in positions of authority, having a fiduciary relationship or by a public servant.

The State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik approved the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018, and the Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

“The Bill seeks to amend the state Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) whereby specific offence under Section 354E is being inserted to provide for the offence of ‘Sextortion’.

“Amendments are being made in Sections 154, 161 and Schedule of Criminal Procedure Code and Section 53A of the Evidence Act so as to bring sextortion at par with similar offences prescribed under the RPC.

“Amendment is being made in Prevention of Corruption Act to amend the definition of misconduct and to provide that demand for sexual favours would also constitute misconduct within the meaning of Section 5,” an official statement said.

IANS

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