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SC calls 4G restoration on trial basis in Jammu and Kashmir ‘fairly good start’

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Postpaid Mobile in Kashmir

New Delhi, Aug 11 : The Centre on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that the special committee constituted to examine restoration of 4G services in Jammu and Kashmir has agreed to provide the high speed Internet access on a trial basis in limited areas.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal appearing for the Centre before a bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana said that restrictions on Internet will be lifted on trial basis at certain geographical locations. It will be at one location in each district.

The Centre informed the court that the relaxation from August 16, in one district each of Jammu and Kashmir division will be assessed after two months. The government also said that blanket restoration of 4G in the UT would not be possible due to threats to security.

The apex court remarked “this is a fairly a good start”, and commended the Centre’s decision. The bench also observed that it hoped the situation would improve and the access could later be expanded.

The Centre submitted that the special committee held its meeting on August 10, and explored multiple options in the backdrop of security situation in the union territory. They recommended opening up of 4G in specified areas of low intensity terrorist activities, not on international border even in the trial basis.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the petitioner NGO, said: “Today is a good and a step forward at least some limited restoration has been made.”

Justice Ramana then closed the contempt case following the Centre’s submission.

The bench had given two weeks time to the Centre to file a reply on the intervention application. The contempt petition was filed by the NGO alleging that the Centre has not formed a special committee to review Internet restrictions in the UT despite the apex court’s order.

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Rail-Roko: Farmers continue to block tracks in Amritsar against farm bills

Farmers, under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, have been staging a sit-in on the rail track in Punjab since last Wednesday

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Farmers Protest

Farmers squatted on the Amritsar-Delhi railway track here on Sunday, continuing their ‘rail-roko’ agitation against the contentious farm bills passed by the Parliament last week.

People from nearby villages brought cooked food and other items for the demonstrators. ‘Langar’ (community kitchen) has also been organised at the site by local gurdwaras.

Women wearing saffron dupattas also joined the protest, raised slogans against the Centre and said they would not allow the implementation of the three legislations.

Farmers, under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, have been staging a sit-in on the rail track in Punjab since last Wednesday.

Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher demanded that all the sitting 13 MPs from Punjab should tender their resignation with immediate effect in support of the farmers’ demands. He asserted that BJP leaders would not be allowed to enter villages.

The committee had announced to extend their agitation till September 29. Trains services remained suspended in the state because of the protest.

Farmers have expressed apprehension that the Centre’s farm reforms would pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big companies.

Parliament had passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020; the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill; and the Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill. These are yet to get the assent of the President.

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Ex-Bihar police chief Gupteshwar Pandey takes political plunge, joins JD(U)

Speculation is rife that he may be offered ticket to contest the assembly election from a seat in his native Buxar district.

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Gupteshwar Pandey IPS

Former Bihar police chief Gupteshwar Pandey, who took voluntary retirement from service a few days ago, joined the state’s ruling JD(U) on Sunday.

Pandey, an outspoken police officer, joined the party in the presence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is also the JD(U) president.

The 1987 batch IPS officer had strongly defended Kumar on the issue of institution of a CBI probe into the mysterious death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

Ever since he took VRS weeks before the October- November assembly elections, there was speculation that he could take the political plunge.

“Nitish Kumar ji personally called me and offered party membership with great love. I accepted it,” Pandey said.

“I don’t know anything about politics. I will do what I am asked to do,” he told reporters.

Speculation is rife that he may be offered ticket to contest the assembly election from a seat in his native Buxar district.

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India

President Kovind gives assent to three farm Bills amid farmer protests

The President’s assent to these bills comes amid the Opposition criticising the manner in which they were passed in Parliament.

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Ram Nath Kovind

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave assent to three contentious farm Bills that have triggered protests by farmers especially in Punjab and Haryana.

According to a gazette notification, the President gave assent to three Bills: The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 aims to permit the sale of agricultural produce outside the mandis regulated by the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) constituted by different state legislations.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, provides for contract farming.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020 deregulates the production, supply, distribution of food items like cereals, pulses, potatoes, onion and edible oilseeds.

The President’s assent to these Bills comes amid the Opposition criticising the manner in which they were passed in Parliament.

Even NDA’s oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has parted ways on the issue of these farm Bills as farmers in Punjab and Haryana intensify protest.

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