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India, China military reach consensus to disengage

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The Indian and the Chinese military have agreed to disengage after the 11-hour-long Corps Commander level talks on Tuesday, government sources. The dialogue, they say, was held in a cordial, positive and constructive atmosphere and there was a “mutual consensus to disengage”.

“Modalities for disengagement from all friction areas in Eastern Ladakh were discussed,” they added.

The corps commanders of two countries’ military met at Moldo on Monday to resolve the border issue and ease tension in Eastern Ladakh. This is the second such meeting after the first one on 6 June defuse the tensions in eastern Ladakh.

 The meeting between 14 Corps commander Lieutenant General Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military District chief Major General Liu Lin happened on the lines of the one they held at the Chushul-Moldo border personnel meeting (BPM) point in eastern Ladakh on 6 June.

 Before this, Major General level dialogue took place for three consecutive days after the barbaric attack at patrolling point 14 in Galwan Valley on 15-16 June night where 20 Indian soldiers were killed. The three talks were to ease out the tense situation and to get released 10 Indian soldiers, including four officers, who were in Chinese captivity.

The clash occurred at the South bank of Galwan river, which flows in an east-west direction before its confluence with Shayok river, in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed. It is the first casualties faced by Indian Army in a clash with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army since 1975 when an Indian patrol was ambushed by Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh.

China’s PLA troopers “savagely attacked” Indian Army personnel, according to sources in the government with knowledge of the details of the June 15-16 night clashes between the two army soldiers. “The numbers were stacked up against the Indian Army troopers. Yet, the Indian side decided to fight the PLA troopers. The Indian soldiers were outnumbered 1:5 by the Chinese troopers,” the sources told IANS on Wednesday.

China is also said to have used thermal imaging drones to trace the Indian Army soldiers scattered on the treacherous terrain before brutally attacking them. “It was the deadliest attack carried on Indian Army personnel by the Chinese military personnel to our memory,” the government sources said.

With agency inputs

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Farmers’ agitation among core issues in Cong agenda in Parliament, likely to boycott President’s address

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New Delhi [India], January 28 (ANI): The Congress party has decided to go strong against the central government in the Budget Session commencing from Friday. Farmers’ agitation against the farm laws, hike in fuel prices and Chinese incursion will be on the agenda of the party this time.
At the same time, the party is likely to boycott the President’s address to the house as well.
The strategy has been finalised in the meeting of the ‘Parliament Strategy Group’ held on Wednesday. It was chaired by Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi via video conferencing and attended by senior party leaders.
According to the sources, the party will go strong on the floor against the government on farmers agitation against the farm laws and will try to compel the government to repeal the laws as it is going to affect the agriculture sector badly and farmers are agitating for more than two months.
Party has also decided to reach out to the like-minded Opposition parties to Chalk out a joint strategy on the issues, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi is in touch with the Opposition Leaders for this and will be doing a Virtual Meeting for this, sources said.
The virtual meeting of ‘Parliament Strategy Group’, which was attended by Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Deputy LoP Anand Sharma and other party leaders like P Chidambaram, Manish Tiwari, Gaurav Gogoi, Manickam Tagore and K Suresh, has also decided to reach out to opposition parties for the boycott of President’s address.
“Ghulam Nabi Azad has been tasked to initiate talks with the party’s stakeholders. Party’s strategy is clear that government must repeal the farm laws and should put up the stand on the current economic condition in the country including Chinese incursion at the northern borders and compromise with the national security in the WhatsApp chat leak case,” a leader present in the meeting told ANI.
The Congress party has called for a convention on the farm laws from Block to State level across the country. In the recent Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, three resolutions were passed including demand for Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) into “shocking revelation endangering national security on WhatsApp chat leak” and demand to Central government for repealing of farm laws.
The Budget session of Parliament will begin on January 29 with an address by President Ram Nath Kovind. The Union Budget will be presented on February 1.
The first part of the session will continue till February 15. The second part of the session will be held from March 8 to April 8.
Rajya Sabha will function from 9 am to 2 pm and Lok Sabha from 4 pm to 9 pm with Zero Hour and Question Hour.
Members of Parliament have been requested to undergo an RT-PCR test against COVID-19 before the start of the Budget session. (ANI)

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Urban body polls underway in Rajasthan’s 20 districts

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Jaipur (Rajasthan) [India], January 28 (ANI): People queued up on Thursday at a polling booth in Rajasthan’s Sikar to cast their votes as urban local body polls in 20 districts underway across the state.
The ongoing election is scheduled to be held across 20 districts of State from 8 am to 5 pm on today.
State Election Commission (SEC) Commissioner PS Mehra earlier appealed to the voters of the state to vote following COVID-19 guidelines.
The Chief Election Commissioner said that 18,510 nomination papers were filed by 15,101 candidates till the last date of withdrawal. After scrutiny and withdrawal of nomination papers, now 9,930 candidates are left to contest for the elections.
SEC Commissioner, Mehra said, “All voters should step out to vote to wear a mask. Sanitize your hands before going to the polling booth and wait for your turn while standing on the marked ballots. During the voting, priority should be given to senior citizens and physically disabled people.”
“5,253 polling stations have been set up for 3,035 wards of 90 bodies. There are total 30,28,544 voters in these bodies, out of which 15,47,974 are men, 14,80,514 are women and 56 other voters will be able to exercise their franchise,” said Mehra.
An adequate police force has been employed to maintain law and order and conduct peaceful elections during elections.
“8,328 EVM machines will be used in this election. 5,253 polling stations have been set up for 3,035 wards. The Commission has set up a control room at Jaipur headquarters for immediate redressal of any complaints related to elections,” Mehra said yesterday. (ANI)

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‘Thackeray’s popularity is dipping’, Karnataka MLA condemns Maha CM’s statement on Belgaum district

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Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], January 28 (ANI): Condemning Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s statement of approaching the Supreme Court to declare Belgaum area as part of a Union Territory, KS Eshwarappa, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Karnataka, said that Thackeray was making such statements as ‘his popularity is dipping’.
Speaking to the media, Eshwarappa said, “The CM’s (Thackeray) popularity is dipping, which is why he is making such statements. Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, we all are brothers. We condemn whatever the Maharashtra CM has said. Kuvempu had said all states are part of India and should live in harmony”.
Another BJP MLA Shashikala Jolle said, “What is this Maharashtra CM is saying? This way Karnataka can claim Mumbai and Solapur as ours. We should stay in harmony. We have people from their state here and people from our state live there so what is the issue?”
This comes in support of the Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi’s statement that the Central government should declare Mumbai as a Union Territory.
“Earlier, we (parts of Belagavi) were a part of Mumbai region. My demand and the demand of the people in this region is that Mumbai be attached to Karnataka…I demand that the Central government ensure that Mumbai should be declared a Union territory. The issue will be resolved once we demand Mumbai,” Savadi said.
Yesterday, Thackeray accused the Karnataka government of deliberately changing the name of the disputed Belagavi district to ‘Belgaum’ while the matter is in court, and threatened to make it a part of Maharashtra.
The dispute began after the States Reorganization Act of 1956 made Belgaum and 10 talukas of Bombay State (formerly part of erstwhile Bombay Presidency) a part of then Mysore state.
The issue of the disputed border area has been pending in the Supreme Court for several years.
Belagavi, Karwar, and Nipani are a part of Karnataka and have Marathi-speaking people. Right from the beginning, Maharashtra has asserted its claim over these districts while the Karnataka government has opposed the assertion. (ANI)

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Indore: Toilet – mutton, egg Katha; Sulabh fined

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By Indore: Toilet – Mutton, Egg Katha; Sulabh Fined
Indore (Madhya Pradesh) [India], January 28 (ANI): During the annual Swachh Survekshan – a yearly survey of cleanliness, hygiene and sanitation – on Wednesday evening, the NGO Sulabh International was fined Rs 20,000 as eggs and mutton were being sold in a ‘Sulabh Shauchalaya’ near Loha Mandi in Indore.
Indore Municipal Corporation Commissioner, Pratibha Pal ordered authorities to follow the guidelines of the Swachh Survekshan survey and issue a fine.
“We have found out that an illegal business of selling eggs and mutton was going on in this toilet. We have expressed disappointment on this matter and reprimanded the caretaker of the public toilets,” said Additional Commissioner of Indore Municipal Corporation, Abhay Rajangaonkar.
“During the inspection, we found out that this Sulabh was being used for selling eggs and mutton by him. A spot fine of Rs 1,000 was imposed on him immediately,” he further said.
“We have also imposed a spot fine of Rs 20,000 against the NGO Sulabh International and have issued a notice on the same,” he added.
On August 21, 2020, Indore bagged the cleanest city title in the Swachh Survekshan 2020 for the fourth time in a row.
Awards for Swachh Survekshan 2020 were announced a bit late due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier, they were announced in May. (ANI)

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SC clubs Kerala MP’s petition with pleas challenging farm laws

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New Delhi [India], January 28 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Thursday clubbed a writ petition filed by Congress Lok Sabha MP from Kerala TN Prathapan, with the rest of the petitions pending before it challenging the farm laws and issued notice to the Union of India (UOI) in the matter.
A three-judge bench of the Apex Court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde, issued notice to the UOI and clubbed the writ petition filed by Thrissur MP, Prathapan, with other petitions pending before it.
During the course of the hearing, the CJI asked, the petitioner, “are you a farmer?”
To it, Prathapan’s lawyer, replied, “Yes, I am an MP and a farmer too.”
The CJI asked him, “you want the existing system to continue?”
The lawyer for Prathapan, said, “we want MSP (Minimum Supply Price) to continue in the matter.”
The CJI said, “please show us the provision and statute, which withdraws the MSP.”
“Issue notice and post it with other connected matters,” the CJI led bench of the Apex Court today said.
The Supreme Court on January 12, stayed the implementation of three farm laws and asked the committee formed by it concerning the three farm laws to submit its report within two months.
Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. (ANI)

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One lakh trained NCC cadets will serve in coastal, border areas: PM Modi

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New Delhi [India], January 28 (ANI): One lakh National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadets, which are being trained by the Army, Navy and Air Force, will serve in coastal and border areas, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the NCC Rally at Cariappa Ground in Delhi on Thursday.
“On August 15, last year, it was announced that NCC will be given new responsibilities in around 175 districts in the coastal and border areas. For this, around 1 lakh NCC cadets are being trained by Army, Navy and Air Force. Out of these, one third are girl cadets,” said Prime Minister Modi.
Hailing NCC cadets for helping the government amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he said: “Be it the floods or any other calamity, NCC cadets helped the people of this country last year. During the Corona pandemic, lakhs of cadets worked with the administration and society across the country. Their work is commendable.”
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the three armed services Chiefs were also present on the occasion.

The Prime Minister wore an NCC cap, reviewed March Past by NCC contingents and witnessed cultural performance during the event. (ANI)

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