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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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ARMY ORGANISES INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATIONS : 2018

The efforts of the battalion were highly appreciated one and all.

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Indian Army Independence Celebration

Rumlidhara Battalion under the aegis of 80 Infantry Brigade organized the 72nd ‘Independence Day Celebrations’ in Govt Girls Middle School, Bareri. Independence The country celebrates the day with traditional joviality and zeal with the aim to remember our Martyrs and forefather who made supreme sacrifices while fighting for the freedom of the nation. Independence Day celebration in schools and various Govt institutes facilitates inculcating patriotism and reongnise their contribution towards Nation building.

Indian Army Independence Celebrations

Indian Army with aim to remember Martyrs celebrates Independence Day with joviality:

The event was organised at large scale witnessing overwhelming response form the locals, school children, teaching staff and parents. Shri Shamsher Chand, Zonal Education Officer, Naushera, Shri Chander Mohan Sharma, Planning Officer Naushera, Shri Mukand Lal, Sarpanch Bareri, 312 students from three different schools, 32 Teachers, 300 parents & 158 villagers participated in the celebrations of Independence Day.

The Flag was hoisted by the Commanding Officer, Rumlidhara Battalion to commemorate the occasion. A Painting Competition, Yoga Acrobatics, March Past and various cultural programmes were enthusiastically performed by the participants who were felicitated with exciting prizes by the battalion. The efforts of the battalion were highly appreciated one and all. Conduct of such events help in nurturing the sense of nationalism and camaraderie amongst the future generation & population of the country.

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Mishandling Kashmir: Learning little from history

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Jammu-and-Kashmir

Independent India and I are both septuagenarians, but since I am a trifle older, I take the liberty of indulging in some reminiscences on the nation’s 71st birthday. My recollections are focused on Kashmir where I was born, in a town called Anantnag.

I particularly remember the traumatic night of October 30, 1947 when India was 10 weeks old and I had just turned three. In my mother’s arms I, with two elder siblings, hid under bushes in our garden as bullets ricocheted off our cottage roof. We lived in Badgam village, 30 km from Srinagar airport. The fusillade was coming from surrounding hills, occupied by Pakistani kabailis (tribals), en route from Uri and Baramulla, hoping to capture Srinagar airport.

At dawn, we piled into the family horse-drawn tonga, with just the clothes on our back and fled to the airport, where RIAF DC-3 Dakotas were disembarking Indian troops. We clambered into a departing aircraft, which flew us to Delhi, and refuge, with relatives.

Growing up in lovely little towns of the Valley in post-independence decades was idyllic and I reluctantly parted from my parents in Leh in 1959, to join college and the Indian Navy. In Jammu and Kashmir, my playmates were all Kashmiris — of Muslim, Hindu and Sikh faith. Our parents were friends; we ate in each others’ homes and celebrated festivals together. But even as children, we understood that Kashmir was not (yet) India, and that the average Kashmiri’s attitude towards India was ambivalent.

India provided huge financial assistance to Jammu and Kashmir: Food, education, clothing and medicine were either free or heavily subsidised. Kashmiris would accept the largesse, but tune in every evening to Radio Pakistan which invariably played on their religious heart-strings, spouting propaganda about “occupation” of Kashmir and “atrocities” by the Bharatiya fauj (Indian Army).

Kashmir’s first ‘Prime Minister’ (he was called Wazir-e-Azam) Sheikh Abdullah was the state’s tallest figure then; a friend of Nehru’s and a staunch secularist, he was the self-styled Sher-e-Kashmir (Lion of Kashmir). In 1953 we were startled to hear that he had allegedly conspired with the Americans to become “King Abdullah” of an independent Kashmir. He was arrested and the Valley burst into flames.

I recall seeing my father, then Magistrate of Baramulla, coming home, bleeding from the head; there had been stone-pelting in the old town, as agitators waved Pakistani flags and shouted pro-Pakistan slogans.

While the 1950s and 60s may not have witnessed wild enthusiasm for India, there was neither hostility nor bitterness amongst Kashmiris.

However, an utterly unimaginative New Delhi had little to offer them, apart from money. As much as 95 per cent of the millions that India poured into Jammu and Kashmir never reached the impoverished Kashmiri. In the absence of a politico-economic strategy for creating jobs, industry or infrastructure, Indian money merely enriched Kashmiri politicians and aggravated popular resentment and alienation, which Pakistan exploited.

India’s maladroitness did not end here. A succession of Pakistani-orchestrated incidents, between 1963 and 1999, demonstrated the ineptness of our intelligence agencies, lack of civil-military coordination and the complete strategic bankruptcy of New Delhi. This depressing sequence included the theft of Prophet Mohammad’s sacred relic, seizure of Hazaratbal shrine, capture and burning of the Charar-e-Sharif shrine, expulsion of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley, the Kargil War and hijacking of IC-814.

This reminiscence is not a history of Kashmir’s travails, but merely a reminder to those who profess shock at recent developments in the Valley that the Indian state has, since 1947, learnt nothing from history, repeated its mistakes and failed to convince Kashmiris that they are Indian.

The French have a cynical aphorism: “the more things change, the more they remain the same”. This Independence Day, let us introspect if this is true of India’s management of Kashmir.

(The author is a former chief of the Indian Navy and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. The article is in special arrangement with South Asia Monitor.)

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Congress moves SC on duplicate votes: Party MP

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Congress delegation CEC
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Jaipur, Aug 15 (IANS) Congress MP Vivek Tankha on Wednesday said that the party had moved the Supreme Court to seek a probe into duplication of names of lakhs of voters on the voter lists in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

“We have moved the court… the case is expected to come up for hearing this week, the Congress Legal Cell incharge told the media here.

He claimed that duplication of names of around one crore voters were found in Madhya Pradesh and a complaint was made to the Election Commission. Of these, names of 27 lakh voters have since been removed.

“We were surprised to see duplication of names of over 42 lakh voters in Rajasthan later. Hence, we will urged the apex court for a thorough investigation in this matter,” the Congress leader said added.

Rajasthan’s Congress unit chief Sachin Pilot pointed out that duplication of voters names increased the chances of bogus voting. “It will be a mockery of democracy if the voter lists are not accurate. Hence, we have submitted a memorandum to the CEC to demand unbiased probe,” he said.

On April 14, a delegation of Rajasthan Congress complained to the the Election Commission against what they called 40-45 lakh bogus votes on the electoral lists in the desert state.

The delegation that met Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat in Delhi included state unit President Sachin Pilot, former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, C.P. Joshi, Rameshwar Dudi and Rajasthan party affairs incharge Avinash Pandey.

Pilot had said that 40-45 lakh of the total 4.75 crore voters in Rajasthan were fake and that the matter needed to be investigated thoroughly.

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