PUNJAB CM WRITES TO NADDA OVER SUSPENSION OF GOODS TRAINS - The Daily Guardian
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PUNJAB CM WRITES TO NADDA OVER SUSPENSION OF GOODS TRAINS

The Railways suspended movement of goods trains in Punjab after farmers launched ‘rail roko’ agitation to protest against the farm laws.

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Expressing concern over the continued suspension of goods trains by the Railways even after easing of the blockade by the farmers, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday wrote an open letter to BJP national president J.P. Nadda, calling for collective will and statesmanship to resolve the festering imbroglio.

He said that it could have dangerous consequences not just for Punjab but the entire nation, including the armed forces in Ladakh and Kashmir.

Reacting to this Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma said that goods and passenger trains were not coming to the state because the Chief Minister has miserably failed to maintain law and order.

Meanwhile, responding to several recent statements of various BJP national and Punjab leaders on the farmer’s protests, particularly the continued suspension of goods trains by the Railways, the Chief Minister stressed that this was neither the time nor the occasion to indulge in political confrontation nor allegations/counter-allegations.

“What is needed at this critical moment is for all of us to put aside any temptations we may be harbouring to promote our political interests,” he said, adding that it is, on the contrary, “time for all of us to rise above political considerations and to respond as statesmen, to a situation that threatens to spiral irrevocable out of control, if immediate steps are not taken to stem the tide.”

Citing the repercussions the continued suspension of goods trains services would have for national security, in addition to the critical shortages faced not just by Punjab but also J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, the Chief Minister warned that the armed forces were likely to be badly affected with the onset of winter, as they could run out of supplies and other requisites once the snowfall blocks the roads to Ladakh and the Valley.

“These are dangers that neither the central government nor any political party, including the BJP, can choose to ignore,” he said, adding that “the onus lies on all of us….We need to all liaise together, with the common goal of solving the contentious issue, in the interest of the country,” CM added.

Referring to the losses caused in Punjab due to the prolonged blockade, Captain Amarinder said every day of the continued suspension of goods trains meant critical losses to the industry, agriculture and overall economy, in view of critical shortages of Power (Coal), Urea and DAP stocks.

The Chief Minister termed as distressing recent remarks of various BJP leaders/members to the prevailing crisis situation, taking specific note of the statements of BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh and Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma.

He said these leaders’ “frivolous and baseless allegation of a collusion of my government with what they call ‘Naxal forces’ shows a shocking lack of maturity and absence of understanding of the current situation.” He said the reference to farmers as ‘Naxals’ was reprehensible, given the contribution of farmers to the nation’s food security.

“The entire country has always looked up to our farmers as the ‘Annadatta’, and by comparing their agitation with ‘Naxalism’, these BJP leaders have demeaned the nation’s ‘Annadattas’ and humiliated every Indian whose lives they sustain,” the Chief Minister added.

Captain Amarinder also took serious exception to the BJP leaders’ use of certain observations of the Punjab High Court to question his government’s moral right to govern the state. The court had merely sought a report and called for steps to be taken by the state government to resolve the farmers’ blockade, he pointed out, adding that ascribing political motives to the judiciary was “nothing short of contempt of court.”

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Kangana Ranaut, sister move SC to transfer cases from Mumbai to Shimla court

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New Delhi [India], March 2 (ANI): Hindi film actor Kangana Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel have moved the Supreme Court seeking the transfer of criminal cases pending against them in various courts of Maharashtra’s Mumbai to Shimla in Himachal Pradesh.
Ranaut and Chandel claimed that they face a threat to life if the trials proceed in Mumbai, because of the personal vendetta of Shiv Sena leaders against them.
Ranaut in her plea said that looking at the threat perception, she was granted Y-plus category of CRPF security by the Home Ministry, therefore, it becomes quite evident that they “face a serious threat to life and property and if the trial of the cases are not transferred out of Mumbai their life will be at risk.”
Various cases were filed against both the sisters including the criminal defamation complaint by veteran lyricist, Javed Akhtar alleging that Ranaut had made defamatory remarks against him on Republic TV after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
Advocate Ali Kashif Khan Deshmukh had also filed a criminal case against them in Mumbai for allegedly causing disharmony between Hindus and Muslims by her tweets. He had cited the example of Ranaut’s tweet on Mumbai turning into “Pakistan Occupied Kashmir”.
A sedition case was filed by casting director Munawar Ali Sayyed, who alleged that Ranaut and her sister tried to create a communal divide through social media and they deliberately made the tweets to bring hatred and excite disaffection towards the Maharashtra government.
The sisters have now approached the top court urging to transfer all the cases to Himachal Pradesh, their home state.
In their petition, Ranaut stated that “Shiv Sena will leave no stone unturned to eliminate her, because of her continuous outspokenness against the wrongs done by the Shiv Sena in collusion with big names of the Hindi film industry.”
Ranaut in the plea pointed out that Sanjay Raut, who is a senior Shiv Sena leader and a Member of Parliament had used inappropriate words against her and the Shiv Sena-led Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) illegally demolished her Pali Hill Bungalow. The plea added that the Bombay High Court has declared the BMC’s act of demolishing a part of her bungalow illegal, and added that it smacked of malafide intentions.
Ranaut and Chandel further stated that while they have utmost faith and respect for courts in the country, they apprehend a threat to their life and property if the trial in the cases continues in Mumbai. They also alleged harassment at the instance of the Maharashtra government led by Shiv Sena.
“These acts of the Maharashtra government clearly show that the Maharashtra government has malafide intentions against the petitioners and that if the petitioners visit Maharashtra to attend the trials, there will be a constant threat to them from the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra government,” the plea stated. (ANI)

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Congress workers burn effigy of Ghulam Nabi Azad for praising PM Narendra Modi

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Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], March 2 (ANI): Congress party workers on Tuesday burnt an effigy of senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and raised slogans against him in a protest in Jammu.
This comes as Azad praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G-23 event in the state saying that he speaks frankly about his past as a tea-seller and never tried to hide his background from the world.
Targeting Azad, Shahnawaz Choudhary, General Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee said Congress has always held him in high esteem but today when it is time to support the party, Azad forged a friendship with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“Congress has always given him (Ghulam Nabi Azad) so much. Congress has only made him the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, but when it is time for him to pay-back to the party, he is making Congress weak by not supporting his own party,” Choudhary said.
Another Congress worker, Aijaz Choudhary, Vice President of Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee said, “Ghulam Nabi Azad praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi who took our statehood and people like him become the reason for making Congress weak.”
“Azad should have guided the party with his experience in politics to resurrect the party and not weaken it,” Choudhary added.
The protesters who were carrying party flags said they will fight against any force questioning the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
At the same time, Ghulam Nabi Azad’s statement has not been liked by G-23 members too. A leader told ANI on the condition of anonymity that Azad should not have made these remarks as they can deflect attention from the G-23’s aim of strengthening the party.
An event was organised in Jammu by the Gandhi Global Family whose national chairman is Ghulam Nabi Azad where G-23 leaders were invited. (ANI)

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Fuel price hike: Youth Congress stages protest outside petroleum ministry

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New Delhi [India], March 2 (ANI): Youth Congress workers on Tuesday staged a protest outside the petroleum ministry over rising prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas.
Hundreds of Indian Youth Congress activists assembled outside the petroleum ministry office with placards in their hands and raised slogans against the central government. The police, meanwhile, arrested a few of the protesters to control the situation.
The prices of petrol and diesel have increased sharply over the past few days, with that of petrol touching the 100-rupee mark in some of the cities. Opposition parties have held protests in different parts of the country over the rising prices of fuel.
On February 25, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that she won’t be able to answer when the prices of petrol and diesel will be reduced.
“I won’t be able to say ‘when’. It is a ‘dharam sankat’ (dilemma),” Sitharaman said at an event in Ahmedabad after being asked when would the central government reduce fuel prices.
Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Dharmendra Pradhan has also said that price of fuel will decrease once the winter season ends.
“Increase in petroleum price in international market has affected consumers too. Prices will come down a little as winter goes away. It is an international matter, price is high due to increase in demand, it happens in winter. It will come down as the season ends,” Pradhan had said on February 26. (ANI)

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Why is Modi govt charging common people for COVID-19 vaccine, asks Prithviraj Chavan

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 2 (ANI): Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday questioned the central government’s decision to charge for COVID-19 vaccine in phase-II that began on March 1.
In phase-II, people over the age of 60 and over the age of 45 with co-morbidity can get inoculated at the designated centres by paying Rs 250.
In a press conference, Prithviraj Chavan said that in phase-I, the union government had procured 1.65 crore doses of vaccine at a cost of Rs 210 per dose.
“According to the budget speech delivered by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on February 1, 2021, Rs 35,000 crore has been earmarked for the vaccination drive. In this amount, at the cost of Rs 210 per dose more than 1.5 billion doses can be procured which can inoculate 75 crore population twice covering almost the entire adult population of India. If budgetary provisions are made then, why charge common people?” Chavan asked.
Comparing to the vaccine drives in countries like the United States of America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK), the Congress leader said, “Large countries such as the USA, UK or Canada are providing free vaccines to their citizens either through insurance scheme or by budgetary provisions.”
He further demanded that all beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (Aayushman Bharat) must be given a free COVID-19 vaccine.
“I demand all beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (Aayushman Bharat) must be given free COVID-19 vaccine. Unfortunately, despite lofty budgetary announcements and India being the largest supplier of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Modi government is digging into the common man’s pocket.”
The price of the coronavirus vaccine at private facilities in the country has been capped at Rs 250 per dose, which includes Rs 100 as a service charge, according to central government sources.
Last Friday, the health ministry had said that the COVID-19 vaccination will be free of charge at government vaccination centres. The beneficiary will have to show a photo ID document for proof of age (preferably Aadhar card or EPIC card) and a certificate of co-morbidity (if required).
Those taking the COVID vaccine at any designated/empanelled private health facility will have to pay a pre-fixed charge.
States and UTs were explained the simplified process of registration, which shall be through three routes: Advance Self-Registration: In this, the beneficiaries will be able to self-register in advance by downloading the Co-WIN 2.0 portal and through other IT applications such as Aarogya Setu etc. (ANI)

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BJP chief asks officials in Rajasthan to strengthen party cadre, do self-analysis

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Jaipur (Rajasthan) [India], March 2 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Jagat Prakash Nadda on Tuesday advised party officials to strengthen the cadre and do self-analysis.
Addressing the ‘State Executive Meeting’ at Birla Auditorium, Jaipur, Nadda asked the officials to complete the formation of booth committees by September 24.
“A lot of people among us have stopped self-analysis. This reduces our productivity. You all need to start doing self-analysis. You need to analyse –what you are giving to the party, how much contribution are you making to the party, at what level are you accepted in the party,” he said.
“The formation of our booth committees should be completed by 25th September i.e. Deendayal Upadhyay ji’s birth anniversary. There should not be any booth where our booth committee is not formed and every booth should have women, youth, Dalit brothers, people from backward caste in our committees,” he added.
Nadda asked the party officials to ensure BJP’s victory in Rajasthan in the next Assembly polls.
“Ashok Gehlot government’s priority is to not have a well-governed state. Seeing this, it is our responsibility, to say ‘namaskar to this sarkar’ and make sure that the lotus blooms here,” he said.
Commenting upon the goal of the party in 2021, Nadda said, “We have a good image in public, but we are a cadre-based party. Therefore, it is our responsibility to strengthen the cadre. Strong mandals, active booths and active panna pramkukhs, these are the three goals we have to complete in 2021.”
Lauding the Prime Minister’s role in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, the BJP chief said, “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination has begun. We have sent the Made-in-India vaccines to over 20 countries.”
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi by taking the COVID-19 vaccine yesterday has given a clear message that we must take the vaccination drive ahead,” he added.
Nadda also slammed Opposition parties over the protest against the three farm laws saying that farmers are our ‘annadata’ and “we need to bring them in the mainstream. But, many parties are exploiting the protest for their own gain.” (ANI)

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‘Hundred suspicion don’t make a proof’: Court cites Russian Novelist to drop murder charges against two in Delhi violence case

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New Delhi [India], March 2 (ANI): A Delhi court on Tuesday dropped attempt to murder charges against two accused in connection with north-east violence case quoting Russian Novelist Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky that “from a hundred rabbits you can’t make a horse, a hundred suspicion don’t make a proof.”
Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat dropped the attempt to murder charges and Arms Act against two accused- Imran alias Teli and Babu and said that there must be some material against the accused persons to frame a charge.
“Presumption can’t be stretched to take the shape of proof/evidence. The chargesheet depicts nothing for charging them under Section 307 Indian Penal Code (IPC) or Arms Act,” the court said.
The court said that Dostoevsky in, “Crime and Punishment” says from a hundred rabbits you can’t make a horse, a hundred suspicion don’t make a proof”. Thus, both the accused persons are discharged of the offences under Section 307 (attempt to murder) IPC and Arms Act.
Delhi Police has alleged that Imran alias Teli and Babu were members of unlawful assembly armed with weapons and participating in the rioting on February 25, 2020, near Maujpur Red Light. Delhi Police has booked them under Section 143/144/147/148/149/307 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 27 of Arms Act.
The Court noted that the gunshot injury is stated to be caused to one Rahul but he is missing and his statement is also not on record.
The police have, after a long investigation, concluded that Rahul, who is stated to have been shot by the mob/rioters comprising the accused persons, had given a wrong address as also a wrong mobile phone number in his Medico Legal Case (MLC).
“So by the time, police arrived at the hospital, the alleged victim Rahul had vanished. It is not as if Rahul gave an initial statement and then vanished. The State is categorical in saying that the police never saw Rahul,” the court said.
“That being the case, who is going to say that who shot whom and by whom and where,” the Court added.
The court further said that the alleged victim has never been seen by the police. He has never given any statement about any gunshot injury or about any mob or rioters.
“So how is Section 307 IPC made out against the accused persons when the victim is absent from even the police investigation. How is the gunshot injury established? There is no murmur of that,” the court further added.
The Court said that there is ground for presuming that the accused persons have committed the offence but not exclusively triable by the Court of Sessions.
Therefore, the Court transferred the matter back to the magistrate Court to decide on the issue of framing charges under unlawful assembly and others.
The Court asked Imran and Babu to mark their appearance at the magistrate court on March 8. (ANI)

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