The Government of India circulars during Covid-19 have become a regular comprehension hurdle. Whoever is writing them needs a lesson in simple communication. The gem of course being Para 2 of the Home Ministry circular on 3 May, which, incidentally, was issued to clarify an earlier missive. This is how this clarification on the movement of migrants (title of said document) went: “It is clarified that the MHA orders are meant to facilitate movement of such stranded persons who had moved from their native places/work places, just before lockdown period but could not return to their native places/work places on account of restrictions…the facilitations envisaged in the aforesaid orders is meant for such distressed persons but does not extend to those categories of personas who are residing normally in places other than their native places for purposes of work etc…” This led adman Suhel Seth to quip on Twitter: “This is fast becoming Kaun Banega Clearpati Challenge.”
The problem of course is that if the message is confused so will be the missive. If you do finally manage to decipher this very convoluted missive, one simple truth stands out— this is not meant to facilitate the movement of migrants at all. They don’t fall into the definition of distressed here. Rather they are the “category of personas” (whatever that means) who are “residing normally in places other than their native places for purposes of work” and thereby exempted from travel. The travel loophole only applies to, say, a daughter living in Delhi who had gone to Udaipur to visit a sick parent and was caught in the lockdown. Not the migrant worker who had left his native place in Bihar to work in a unit in Delhi that had locked down, and rendered him both homeless and jobless. Of course, I could have easily interpreted this wrong, because clarity is not the cornerstone here, but this is my takeaway.
Also, interesting to note is that this clarification was issued against the backdrop of an earlier 29 April circular instructing states to “mutually agree” upon organising bus services from point of origin to their native places. When this didn’t work out as planned, given the long distances involved, the buck was passed onto the Railway Ministry to organise special trains. And we all know how the babus messed that up with their Rs 50 surcharge for special trains. Why is the Prime Minister letting all this happen on his watch? That Narendra Modi, the Master Communicator, should let himself be wrapped up in bureaucratic mumbo jumbo is a mystery in itself. Not to mention the fact that he scored a major self-goal by allowing the Congress to walk away with the narrative when Sonia Gandhi asked Congress governments to bear the cost of the tickets for the homeless migrants. Maybe the PM should spend some of his lockdown time watching reruns of Yes Prime Minister before the bureaucracy does a Humphrey Appleby on him.
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Amit Shah arrives in Guwahati, to hold public meetings on Jan 24
Guwahati (Assam) [India], January 23 (ANI): Union Home Minister Amit Shah arrived in Guwahati in the early hours of Saturday.
Shah, on January 24, will hold two public meetings in Assam, which is scheduled to go to the polls later this year. In Assam’s Kokrajhar, he will hold a meeting of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).
Later, he will address a public meeting organised by the BJP in Nalbari.
BJP Vice President and party in-charge of Assam, Baijayant Jay Panda, is currently camping in Assam and looking after the preparations for Shah’s rally.
“The Home Minister will be visiting Assam for the second time in less than a month. Besides government programmes, including a meeting of the Bodoland Tribal Council area, he will also be reviewing the political situation and addressing a public rally organised by BJP at Nalbari,” Panda told ANI.
During Shah’s last visit to Assam, several Congress MLAs joined the BJP.
The term of the 126-member Assam Assembly is ending on 31 May 2021. (ANI)
Amid speculations of his joining Left front, KV Thomas to meet AICC team
By Hari Mohan
Kochi (Kerala) [India], January 23 (ANI): Amid speculations that senior Congress leader and former Union Minister KV Thomas would join the Left front, he revealed he spoke to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and would meet the All India Congress Committee (AICC) team headed by Ashok Gehlot who is in Kerala on Saturday.
Speaking to ANI he said, “Sonia Gandhi called me and asked to meet the AICC team deputed by High Command in Kerala. I will go to Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday (today) and will meet them.”
He said he was called by senior Congress leaders from Kerala, Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala, in the evening. “They also asked me to meet the AICC team,” he added.
He further said, “I have so much respect and gratitude for Sonia Gandhi. I will obey any instruction from her without any complaint. I have never said no to her so far and won’t say in the future as well.”
Regarding the alleged ‘rift’ with the Congress party, he said that he had not demanded any post in the party or any seat in the upcoming assembly polls.
“But I didn’t get any role in the local body polls. I recommended just one person’s name for a seat in the local body polls. That was rejected,” said the senior Congress leader.
The revelation comes after he cancelled a press meet scheduled tomorrow, in which he had said that he would make his future plans clear. In the last Lok Sabha polls, Thomas was not given any seat to contest, on which he had then openly expressed his displeasure. (ANI)
Telangana introduces 10 pc quota for economically weaker sections
Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], January 23 (ANI): Telangana IT and Municipal Minister KTR on Friday said that a 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker section is being introduced while the current reservation will be as usual.
Officials met IT minister KT Rama Rao and minister Errabelli Dayakar Rao at Pragathi Bhavan yesterday. Errabelli has been felicitated for his decision of making the economic backward category get 10 per cent reservation in public sector jobs and education.
The officials felicitated minister KTR and he expressed his happiness. KTR said, “The government’s goal is to create opportunities for everyone in society.”
He said that if equal opportunities are provided, there will be equality in society. The CM has decided to provide 10 per cent reservation to the economically weaker sections for achieving social harmony.
“Reservations would remain the same at present. He said the reservations would be extended to Vaishya Reddy, Velam, Kamma, Brahmin, Marwari Jain, Muslim minorities like Syed and Khan,” said KTR.
“10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections is being introduced and the current reservation will be as usual. According to the family survey conducted in 2025, there are 10 per cent SCs, 12 per cent STs, 51 per cent BCs, and 22 per cent others in the State. We provided 24 hours electricity to farmers and introduced Rhythu Bandhu scheme. Kalyana Lakshmi, Shadi Mubarak, KCR kits and many such developmental schemes have been introduced. That is the reason the KCR’s government is a government with a heart. CM’s aim is to see everyone happy and he should be one of them. They introduced several schemes which give support starting from before birth to after death,” he added. (ANI)
Fire breaks out in Delhi’s Uttam Nagar area, fire tenders at spot
New Delhi [India], January 23 (ANI): A fire broke out at an automobile workshop in Uttam Nagar area’s Main Rajapuri Road on Friday.
At least 15 fire tenders have reached the spot and are engaged in firefighting operations here.
Further details are awaited. (ANI)
Krishna police detain man in Nandi idol desecration case
Krishna District (Andhra Pradesh) [India], January 23 (ANI): Krishna district police have detained the accused in the Nandi idol desecration case in Makkapeta village of Vatsavai mandal here. Police found that the idol vandalisation on 16 September 2020 was the handiwork of treasure hunters.
Krishna district superintendent of police (SP) Ravindranath Babu and SIT officer Ashok Kumar shared details of the case before the media at Nandigama DSP office.
“The idol of Nandi at Lord Kasi Visweswara temple in Makkapeta village, Vatsavai Mandal of Krishna district was desecrated on 16 September 2020. The ear of the Nandi idol was broken. The police filed a case and launched an investigation. The police have today detained the accused in this case. Srinivas from Hyderabad is found to be the main accused,” they said.
SP Ravindranath Babu said that Srinivas and others have been detained.
He added, “The accused believed that there are diamonds in the Nandi idol. They planned to commit the crime to get a treasure trove from this temple. At first, they did a recce here. After that Srinivas brought a temple priest from Gampalagudem and did a recce for the second time. Srinivas, that priest and his accomplices named Vijay and Mahesh came in a car to the temple on 16 September 2020 night. They broke the ear of Nandi idol and took it away. They broke that ear part into pieces for diamonds but found nothing. Then they left the place.”
“Srinivas further enquired from some other persons at Hyderabad. They said that diamonds would be in the stomach or back part of the Nandi idol but not in the ear. Then the gang again came to the temple to take the idol. They asked the local people and came to know that the idol was removed,” said SP Ravindranath Babu.
The Superintendent of Police said they asked the temple priest about the idol who got suspicious and informed the police. The accused admitted that they did a recce several times and vandalised the idol for hidden treasure, the SP added.
He further added that a case has been filed against the accused under sections 447, 427, 295, 295A,153 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 20 of the Indian Treasure Trove Act. The police seized two cars, six mobile phones. They further seized a hammer and other equipment used for breaking the idol. (ANI)
Masked man alleges plot to shoot 4 farmer leaders, disrupt Jan 26 tractor rally
New Delhi [India], January 23 (ANI): Farmers at Singhu border on Friday presented a person who revealed an alleged plot to shoot four farmer leaders and also to cause disruption during farmers’ tractor march on January 26.
“Attempts are being made by agencies to disrupt the farmers’ agitation,” claimed farmer leader Kulwant Singh Sandhu at a press briefing at the Singhu border.
He further said that the masked man along with his other teammates has been threatened that their family members will be killed if they leak any information.
Speaking to the media, the masked man said, “We had planned to stop farmers from moving ahead during January 26 rally and if they did not stop, we had planned to first fire in the air and then our other teammates were to fire from behind so that the police officials present at the spot think that the farmers are firing at them.”
He further claimed that they are a team of 10 people including two women.
“Our team has given weapons at two places here. During January 26 rally, it was planned that half of the people (of his team) will be present wearing police uniforms to scatter the farmers’ groups. We were also given the photograph of four people, who were to be shot, present at the stage. The person who directed us is a cop,” the masked man further claimed.
“We were working for money. There are other people as well who are involved in this who are yet to be caught. I would request that our families should not be informed about this. We were to be given Rs 10,000 each to carry out the disruption,” he added.
The man asserted there are 90 per cent chances that the disruption will be carried out here on January 26.
“I have also informed about the appearance of the people who will come here to cause disruption. Those men will be wearing boots, turbans and ribbed jeans. Other men who will come to January 26 rally will come in police uniforms,” the man claimed.
Explaining his role along with other teammates during “Jaat Agitation”, the masked man said, “Our only role during Jaat Aandolan was to wear police uniforms and do a lathi charge. We were active for the past two days.”
“My duty was to keep an eye on weapons provided. We also resorted to a lathi charge at Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar’s rally in Karnal recently. We used to undergo training at different places like hotels and dhabas to carry out these acts. We are not killers, but just do these things as we are in need of money,” he added.
The masked man was later handed over to the police here. (ANI)
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