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Supreme Court asks MHA to clarify visa status of foreigners who attended Tablighi meet

On June 26, the apex court had asked the foreign nationals to send the copy of their petition to the Centre, where they have challenged the Ministry of Home Affairs” order blacklisting them for allegedly participating in the Tablighi Jamaat event.

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Tablighi Jamaat

New Delhi, June 29 : The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre that if the visas of the foreigners who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat meet in Delhi in mid-March were cancelled, why were they still in India? “You deport them,” the top court said.

The apex court also sought clarification from the Ministry of Home Affairs on its stand on the visa status of nearly 2,500 citizens from 35 countries.

A bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna took up the pleas filed by the foreigners, who were blacklisted for 10 years through video conferencing.

Posting the matter for further hearing on July 2, the bench told the Centre”s counsel, “Tell us if there was just a general direction or individual orders sent to each one of them, informing them about the blacklisting and cancellation of visas.”

The Centre”s counsel contended before the bench that the copies of the petitions have not been served to them, and sought time to file a reply. Senior advocate C.U. Singh, representing the petitioners, contended before the bench that the blacklisting order was a general note for 900 persons. “Their countries are asking them back. The embassies are also asking,” argued Singh.

The bench noted that the MHA notification said that the decision has to be taken on case to case basis by the state authorities. The bench said if visas have been cancelled, then it needs an explanation as to “why they (foreigners) are still here in India. And if visas have not been cancelled, it is a different situation.” The bench said let the Centre issue a statement on this matter.

On June 26, the apex court had asked the foreign nationals to send the copy of their petition to the Centre, where they have challenged the Ministry of Home Affairs” order blacklisting them for allegedly participating in the Tablighi Jamaat event.

More than 30 petitioners, who moved the top court, submitted that they had to forfeit their passports to the state administration after the registration of FIRs, which led to deprivation of personal liberty, without following the procedures established under the law.

“All human beings are born with some unalienable rights like life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. The importance of these natural rights can be found in the fact that these are fundamental for their proper existence, and no other right can be enjoyed without the presence of the right to life and liberty. Life bereft of liberty would be without honour and dignity and it would lose all significance and meaning and the life itself would not be worth living,” read the plea.

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Amid Covid-19, Independence Day celebrations at Red Fort might be muted

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Red Fort

New Delhi, July 4 : This year the Independence Day celebrations at Red Fort might not be as grand as in the previous years because of the Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing norms to be followed. This means that the gathering at the Red Fort would be limited and more emphasis would be on the virtual transmission of the event.

“The gathering might be limited to one third or even less this year. This means the security agencies would strictly adhere to social distancing norms,” said an official at the Red Fort.

The Delhi Police would be manning the outer layer of the security ring as the security of the Red Fort has been taken over by the Defence Ministry and the Prime Minister’s security.

The seating arrangements for the dignitaries would be according to the social distancing guidelines which means there would be less chairs this year. The decision on the entry of the general public is still under consideration.

“There would be 4 isolation chambers, two inside and two outside the Red Fort. Also, the number of ambulances deployed this year might be more than previous years, the staff of the Red Fort would also undergo the Covid test,” the official said.

There is also doubt if the school children would be allowed in this year. Gadgets would be used for security checks to maintain social distancing. A watch would be kept at the premises of the Red Fort and the surrounding areas through CCTV cameras.

“The Delhi police conducted a mock drill to check the preparedness ahead of Independence Day. This exercise was conducted to check the preparedness of various agencies for any eventuality. The drill was conducted along with the DDMA, CISF, ASI, CATS, PCR, Traffic and other agencies,” said DCP North Monika Bhardwaj.

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Let us code for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat: PM Modi

The Prime Minister said India’s tech ecosystem had made it proud and the pandemic had brought about disruption in the tech world.

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New Delhi, July 4 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi, here on Saturday, launched the Digital India AatmaNirbhar Bharat Innovate Challenge to identify the best Indian apps, already being used by citizens and have the potential to scale up and become world class.

The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology along with the Atal Innovation Mission have come up with this challenge, which will run in two tracks — promotion of existing apps and development of new apps.

“For the promotion of existing apps and platforms across the categories of e-learning, work-from-home, gaming, business, entertainment, office utilities and social networking, the government will provide mentoring, hand-holding and support.

“Track-01 will work in mission mode for identifying good quality apps for the leader-board and shall be completed in around a month,” said a statement issued the Prime Minister in his LinkedIn account.

For new apps, Track-02 initiative will work to help create new champions in India by providing support in ideation, incubation, prototyping and rollout along with market access.

This challenge will help create tech products to find solutions to tech conundrums with mentorship. Interestingly, the challenge comes in the wake of India banning 59 Chinese apps citing national security considerations.

“I urge all my friends in the tech community to participate and help create an aatmanirbhar app ecosystem. Who knows, I may also use some of these apps made by you,” said the Prime Minister with a smiley.

The Prime Minister said India’s tech ecosystem had made it proud and the pandemic had brought about disruption in the tech world.

Connecting it with the ”self-reliant India”, he said, “Today, when the entire nation is working towards creating an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, it”s a good opportunity to give direction to their efforts, momentum to their hard-work and mentorship to their talent to evolve apps which can satisfy our market as well as compete with the world.”

Stating that the goal is to Make in India for India as well for the World, the Prime Minister using the sectoral parlance said, “Let us code for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat!.”

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Kapil Sibal to PM Modi: Follow raj dharma, tell truth about China incursion

“Is this the Indian territory on which radars, helipads and other structures been set up by the Chinese in a brazen act of transgression,” Sibal asked.

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Kapil Sibal

New Delhi, July 4 : Reminding Prime Minister Narendra Modi to follow the ”raj dharma” (royal duty), the Congress, here on Saturday, asked him to tell the people truth about Chinese incursion, give its army a befitting reply and force it to back down from illegal occupation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Raising a series of questions over Chinese transgression into the Indian territory, a senior Congress leader, while addressing the media through video link, showed May to June satellite images of Ladakh”s Pangong Tso to pinpoint Chinese structures and asked the Prime Minister to speak truth about that.

Noting that “pictures don”t lie”, Kapil Sibal asked the Prime Minister to tell the nation truth about the latest and the first Chinese occupation of the Indian territory up to Finger 4 Ridge in the Pangong Tso Lake area.

“Is this the Indian territory on which radars, helipads and other structures been set up by the Chinese in a brazen act of transgression,” Sibal asked.

He said the local councillors of Ladakh, including BJP councillors, had submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister in February about the capture of our land by China.

“What action did the Prime Minister take? Had he acted, we would have pre-empted the brazen Chinese transgressions. The time warrants India to look into the face of China and tell them to retreat,” said the noted lawyer who headed several ministries in the Congress-led UPA government.

“Mr Prime Minister, this is the ”raj dharma” you must follow,” the Congress leader said.

Sibal asked whether China had occupied the Indian territory in the Galwan Valley, including ”Petrol Point – 14”, where 20 Indian soldiers made the supreme sacrifice, and also in Hot Springs.

“Has China occupied our territory up to Y-Junction (18 km inside the LAC) in the Depsang Plains, threatening our strategic D.B.O. airstrip, the military supply lifeline to Siachen Glacier and Karakoram Pass,” Sibal said.

On Modi”s Friday visit to Nimu, Leh, Sibal said former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri too had visited the forward locations to boost the soldiers” morale.

“Did Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru not visit soldiers at forward locations in NEFA in 1962 to boost their morale? It appears that our Prime Minister (Modi) stayed 230 km away in Nimu,” he said.

Modi on a visit to Ladakh on Friday, barely 18 days after a violent stand-off in Galwan Valley, without naming China issued it a clear warning by saying the “age of expansionism is over.”

Addressing the armed forces, he said, “The age of expansionism is over. This is the age of development. History has witnessed that expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to retreat.”

Modi’s assertion in the Ladakh region was significant given the tension at the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

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