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Tripura tribals take out mammoth rally against Citizenship Bill

On Tuesday, 11 parties from seven states, excluding Sikkim, participated in a two-day convention. Its convener was Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.

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Tripuras tribal parties protest

Agartala, Jan 30 : Several tribal parties led by the Congress held a joint rally near here on Wednesday to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

First the community then the party, was what the rallyists gathered at Khumulwng without flags, banners and festoons said as they demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Bill.

The unprecedented huge rally took place a day after 11 parties of the Northeast held a convention in Guwahati on the same issue.

Raising slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre, the tribal agitators burnt the effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Led by Congress General Secretary in-charge of Sikkim Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debburman participants in the rally held 20 km from here — the headquarters of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council — unitedly planned to obstruct the passing of the Bill into an Act.

On January 8, amid strong opposition by various political parties, including the Congress, Left and Trinamool Congress, the Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill but it is yet to approved by the Rajya Sabha.

Congress’ Debburman said irrespective of party affiliations all the tribal parties and NGOs would unitedly fight against the Centre’s decision.

Former legislator Rajeshwar Debbarma, who on Tuesday resigned from the BJP, former militant outfit All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) supremo Ranjit Debbarma and a large number of surrendered militants took part in the rally.

They strongly demanded the withdrawal of the Bill which seeks to grant citizenship to migrants from six non-Muslim minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

According to the agitators, it would jeopardise the demography of the indigenous people of the Northeast, comprising of eight states.

Tripura’s oldest tribal party INPT (Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura) General Secretary Jagadhish Debbarma said the gathering of the activists and supporters of at least six tribal parties, have resolved to intensify their agitation if the Centre did not withdraw the Bill at once.

“With the amendment of the Citizenship Act, the Indian government not only jeopardises the demography of the indigenous people of the Northeast, but will also make the non-Muslim minorities in Bangladesh, Pakistan and other countries insecure,” said Pradyot Debburman, a scion of Tripura’s erstwhile royal family.

“We have formed a new body — Committee for Movement Against Citizenship Amendment Bill — to continue the agitations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

“First community then the party, that’s why we have gathered at Khumulwng without our flags, banners and festoons,” Jagadhish Debbarma told the media.

The INPT leader claimed that a large number of activists and supporters of the IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura), partner of the ruling BJP in Tripura also attended the unprecedented gathering on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, 11 parties from seven states, excluding Sikkim, participated in a two-day convention. Its convener was Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.

They unanimously decided to send a delegation to meet Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind seeking the scrapping of the Bill.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga, who earlier in Aizawl threatened to sever relations with the BJP-led anti-Congress alliance Northeast Democratic Alliance (NEDA) if the Centre did not withdraw the Bill, also attended the Guwahati convention.

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Cloudy, foggy Saturday morning in Delhi

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delhi fog
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New Delhi, Feb 16: Delhiites on Saturday witnessed a cloudy and foggy morning with the minimum temperature recorded at 13 degrees Celsius, two notch above the season’s average.

“The sky will remain partly cloudy throughout the day,” an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said.

The maximum temperature was likely to hover around 19 degrees Celsius. The humidity at 8.30 a.m. was recorded at 93 per cent while visibility was at 600 metres.

The Indian Railways said as many as 13 Delhi-bound trains were delayed due to fog and low visibility in several parts of northern India.

The overall air quality of the city remained in the ‘poor’ category with the Air Quality Index (AQI) reaching 225 as per the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting.

On Friday, the maximum temperature settled two notches below the average at 22 degrees Celsius and the minimum temperature was recorded at 11.8 degrees Celsius, a notch above the season’s average.

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Modi flags off Vande Bharat Express

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Train 18

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday flagged off the indigenous Train 18, renamed Vande Bharat Express, from the New Delhi railway station to his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi in the backdrop of the terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir which killed 45 troopers.

A sombre Modi told a gathering at the station that he was “grateful to designers and engineers behind Vande Bharat Express” which set off at 11.20 a.m.

The train will clock 160 km per hour — the fastest on the Indian rail network.

The Prime Minister said with “our sincerity and hard work in the last four and half years, we have tried to improve the railways”.

Earlier, Modi inspected the coaches and the engine cabin of the Vande Bharat Express along with senior railway officials.

The flagging off was delayed by over 80 minutes as Modi presided over a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security to discuss the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi and members of the Railway Board were on board the train on its inaugural journey.

Bookings on the Vande Bharat Express opened on Friday. All the seats of were booked within four hours.

The train, which will start replacing Shatabdi Express trains, will run between Delhi and Varanasi.

The train has been manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai.

The gleaming blue-nosed train comes fitted with world class amenities on board like high-speed on-board WiFi, GPS-based passenger information system, touch-free bio-vacuum toilets, LED lighting, mobile charging points and a climate control system that automatically adjusts the temperature.

The 16-coach train will have two executive compartments with 52 seats each and trailer coaches with 78 seats each.

The executive class will have rotating seats to match the direction of the train.

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Manjhi dares Modi to bring 420 chopped heads of terrorists

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Jitan Ram Manjhi

Patna, Feb 15 (IANS) Former Bihar Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi on Friday dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring 420 chopped heads of terrorists to silent the boiling anger of Indians.

“Until the government led by Modi bring 420 chopped heads of terrorists, the boiling anger of people will not be silent,” he told the media here, reacting to Thursday’s terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir which left 45 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel dead and 38 injured.

Demanding why the government did not take any action, Manjhi said: “A country is not run merely by ‘jumlebazi’, the government has to do something concrete on the ground.”

He further said that the Modi government has so far failed to curb terror activities and this was reflected in what happened in Pulwama.

Manjhi said he shared the pain and grief of the families of those martyred.

Bihar Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav said that before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party had claimed to bring 10 chopped heads in revenge of one Indian killed but after winning, Modi went to Pakistan to eat biryani.

Yadav said he and his party – the Rashtriya Janata Dal – are with the families of the martyred CRPF personnel.

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