There must be no ifs and buts in the fight against terrorism, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday, adding that “terrorists are terrorists, there are no good and bad ones”.
Speaking at the United Nations Security Council open debate on “International Cooperation in combating terrorism 20 years after the adoption of 1373”, he said that there are countries that are clearly guilty of aiding and supporting terrorism and willfully provide financial assistance and safe heavens. He urged the international community to hold these countries accountable.
Jaishankar, who did not name Pakistan, made a veiled reference to China and said the “practice of placing blocks and holds on listing requests without any rhyme or reason must end”. He said there was a need to reform the working methods of the committees dealing with sanctions.
This was the first time that the minister made an intervention in the UNSC after India has assumed membership on 1 January 2021.
Jaishankar termed Security Council Resolution 1373 a landmark resolution in the global fight against terrorism. He said some states lack the legal and operational frameworks and technical expertise needed to detect, investigate, and prosecute terrorist financing cases.
“However, there are also other states that are clearly guilty of aiding and supporting terrorism, and wilfully provide financial assistance and safe-havens. While we must enhance capacities of the former, the international community must collectively call out the latter and hold them accountable,” he said
Jaishankar proposed an eight-point action plan to address the menace of terrorism and said enlisting and delisting individuals and entities under the UN sanctions regimes must be done objectively, not for political or religious considerations.
He said that India has been itself battling terrorism for many decades with great resolve, these proposals have been framed with the interests of the entire international community in mind. He suggested that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) should continue to “identify and remedy weaknesses in anti-money laundering and counter-terror financing frameworks.”
“First, we must all summon up the political will to combat terrorism. There must be no ifs and buts in this fight. Nor should we allow terrorism to be justified and terrorists glorified. All member states must fulfil their obligations enshrined in international counter-terrorism instruments and conventions,” he suggested, adding that there must be no countenance double standards in the battle against terrorism.
“Two, we must not countenance double standards in this battle. Terrorists are terrorists; there are no good and bad ones. Those who propagate this distinction have an agenda. And those who cover up for them are just as culpable.
“Accordingly, we must reform the working methods of the committees dealing with sanctions and counter-terrorism. Transparency, accountability and effectiveness are the need of the day. The practice of placing blocks and holds on listing requests without any rhyme or reason must end. This only erodes our collective credibility,” he said.
Jaishankar said that adequate funding to UN counter-terrorism bodies from the UN regular budget requires immediate attention. “Four, we must firmly discourage exclusivist thinking that divides the world and harms our social fabric. Such approaches facilitate radicalization and recruitment by breeding fear, mistrust, and hatred among different communities. The Council should be on guard against new terminologies and misleading priorities that can dilute our focus.
“Five, enlisting and delisting individuals and entities under the UN sanctions regimes must be done objectively, not for political or religious considerations. Proposals in this regard merit due examination before circulation. Six, linkages between terrorism and transnational organized crime must be fully recognized and addressed vigorously. We, in India, have seen the crime syndicate responsible for the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts not just given State protection but enjoying 5-star hospitality,” he added.
The minister also called for enhanced UN coordination with the FATF, saying it can make a “big difference”.
“Adequate funding to UN Counter-Terrorism bodies from the UN regular budget requires immediate attention. The forthcoming 7th review of the UN’s Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy offers an important occasion to strengthen measures to prevent and combat terrorism and building capacities of member states,” he added.
The minister said in 1996, long before the adoption of Resolution 1373, India took the initiative to pilot the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism with the objective of providing a comprehensive legal framework to combating terrorism.
WITH ANI INPUTS
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CREATING A CULTURE OF BIRDWATCHING IN HAIDERPUR WETLAND
Bird enthusiast Ashish Loya, in an interview with The Daily Guardian, tells how his childhood hobby of birdwatching turned into a purpose to conserve and protect Haiderpur Wetland with the support of locals and authorities. Excerpts:
Ashish Loya all set to shoot.
Q. What sparked your interest in birdwatching which later made you rigorously document and record various species of birds?
A. Birdwatching was my childhood hobby which began from 6th grade. I used to regularly indulge in birdwatching during my school and college days and also visit Bharatpur every year. But then it took a backseat during my life in New York. Years later when I came to Bijnor for Art of Living work, the flocks of Painted Storks and Bar-headed Geese on Ganga Barrage attracted my attention. Out of curiosity I started exploring the area and was stunned to find thousands of migratory waterfowls. This revived my hobby and I started birding regularly here since 2015. I understood the importance of this area and wanted it to be conserved. I started preparing checklists regularly and uploading on eBird, documenting my findings, hoping that it will attract the attention of the right people.
Q. What can a birdwatcher absorb and learn from spending time at Haiderpur Wetland?
A. Birdwatchers can see a diverse and large number of species in pristine undisturbed habitat. Some are not found so easily elsewhere, like the White-tailed Eagle. Greylag Goose flock is estimated to be the largest in the country. There is a watch-tower, beautiful and strategically located viewpoints and 15km of walking and cycling trails, all of which makes this an unforgettable experience. There are many undiscovered secrets here which they can unravel.
Q. You have been instrumental in conservation efforts to turn Haiderpur Wetland into an attractive abode for native and migratory birds and work is underway for it to be made a Ramsar site. Would you like to throw light on your contribution?
A. For a site to be declared a Ramsar site, it needs to satisfy at least 1 of the 10 criteria laid out. My reports, observations, documents, photos and videos have helped establish that Haiderpur Wetland meets 5 out of the 10 criteria, making for a very strong case. When I first started birdwatching here, I immediately recognised the importance of this place as an important site on the central Asian flyway. I started making a checklist and also uploading it on Ebird. I have created a checklist of 280 species.
I have spotted some very rare species like Penduline Tit, White-tailed Eagle, Bristled Grassbird, and Indian Skimmers which helps to satisfy the Ramsar criteria. My videos and pictures have documented the presence of >1% population of Greylag Goose, Ferruginous ducks etc which is another Ramsar criteria. I was also the first to record 145 swamp deers and otters, which suggests that the wetland supports other endangered forms of wildlife as well. I have observed the breeding behaviour of Bristled Grassbird here, establishing that species depend on this wetland during critical phases of their lifecycle.
I have also conducted bird counts, as part of Asian waterfowl census, national bird count etc and helped tabulate over 27000 migratory birds here. For Ramsar site declaration, we need to have 20000 waterbirds.
I shared my findings with the forest department and made them realise the importance of this place. My pictures and videos awakened administration to the richness of biodiversity here and have been valuable evidence to establish the case for Ramsar site declaration.
Q. What can be done to encourage more children to care about wildlife, engage in bird watching as well as conservation initiatives?
A. I believe children need to be exposed to birdwatching through some programs, like the Art of Living children’s program. They have a natural affinity for nature and can easily take up birdwatching, as it stimulates their curiosity. They are by nature very curious. For the first few times, we need to take them on guided trips, encourage them to find and discover nature. Today’s children are just not exposed to nature so much. I think parents should expose themselves and their children more to nature.
Q. Do you believe that initiatives like organising Haiderpur Wetland Birdwatching Festival will help to draw more visitors and put Haiderpur Wetland on the environmental tourism map?
A. Surely as the festival creates a buzz in the media, it helps popularise the place and brings like-minded people together viz conservationists, nature lovers, experts and newcomers together who learn from each other.
Q. Will Haiderpur wetland’s conservation and promotion of ecotourism create more livelihood opportunities for locals?
A. Yes, it will and it already has. I have trained a few youngsters in birdwatching who can act as nature guides. There is a boat safari on the Ganga river which is generating income for local boatmen. There are a lot of opportunities to develop homestays, tours, local handicraft for tourists and more.
Q. What is being done to increase the awareness of locals about conservation practices?
A. Forest Department is having regular meetings and workshops for the local community. Art of Living programs are also helping in reaching out to the area’s youth and spreading the message of conservation. Also, I provide regular updates to local media on important sightings and developments at the wetland which also helps in increasing the awareness of the locals.
Q. Is wetland conservation an even greater priority owing to climate change?
A. Wetlands are a valuable part of ecosystems, economic activity as well as social and cultural life. Many species depend on them for their survival. We need to make people aware of the fact that a healthy wetland means a healthy planet.
PREPARING THE STAGE FOR A NEW PRESIDENT IN AMERICA
As Joe Biden takes his oath of office as the new President of the United States on Wednesday, it will be important for his administration to show strength and stability and send out the message that the oldest democracy is in the hands of a capable and committed team.
After all the controversies and the act of near insurrection on Capitol Hill by Donald Trump’s supporters last week, the transition to the new presidency will take place on Wednesday, 20 January, in a traditional affair, with or without Trump. However, the ceremony will be shortened due to the regulations in place for the pandemic. Kamala Harris will become the first woman to serve as Vice President in the history of the United States. As the city is virtually under siege, a 20,000-strong presence of National Guard soldiers will strictly monitor the event.
The day traditionally begins with attending a morning worship service, which was introduced by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 and continues till this day. The outgoing President accompanies the President-elect to the Capitol for the swearing-in ceremony. Should he not be present, he would be the first President to skip his successor’s swearing-in ceremony in all of 152 years.
The inauguration is a National Special Security Event (NSSE) involving federal agencies and law enforcement officials who create a wide security perimeter with road closures and barricades around the Capitol. The secret service had already given its clearance although the recent failure to protect the Capitol from chaos, injury and death because of an orchestrated insurgency will go down as a historical fact. A seven-foot fence designed to prevent scaling around the periphery of the US Capitol will be in place with National Guard members, the D.C. Police and Capitol Police and US Army.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee has requested and received permits for Lafayette Square, portions of the Mall from 3rd to 14th Streets, the area surrounding the Lincoln Memorial and the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, among others, for the inauguration, but the iconic parade would be virtual and all in-person balls stand cancelled. Congress members have been restricted to only two tickets, against the 130,000 they are typically instructed to distribute among their constituents, because of public health concerns.
During the last inauguration, it was observed that more than 95% of hotel rooms had been filled across the district, but this time it may be a fraction of that number. More hotel accommodation seems to have been grabbed by the security agencies. The city already had an extended public emergency order through 21 January, making the administration to issue curfews, close businesses, halt transit and dip into emergency funds to ensure a safe environment for the ceremony and later through the evening.
The Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, had asked Lt Gen (retired) Russel Honore, who helped coordinate the military efforts around Hurricane Katrina, to conduct “an immediate review of the Capitol’s security infrastructure, interagency processes and procedures and command control”. Can such an act be geared in India for the likely fallout, right or wrong, from the protesting farmers who are threatening to create a scene on our Republic Day?
Traditionally, the President-elect arrives at the White House and then proceeds to the Capitol Building with the outgoing President. However, Donald Trump’s presence is not assured. The only component in this ceremony, mandated by the United States Constitution, is the recitation of the presidential oath of office, typically administered by the Chief Justice. This happens around noon, followed by the inaugural address.
The 20th Amendment to the Constitution requires that the term of each elected President and Vice President begin at 20 January noon of the year after the election. Every President has to take the oath of office and they cannot assume their positions otherwise.
Symbolically, it marks the peaceful transfer of power from the current President to the next. Inauguration Day will be all the more important this year, as Biden ascends to the presidency at a time when political division has threatened the nation’s democratic institutions and his predecessor has gone to extraordinary lengths to stay in power.
Just before the President-elect takes the oath of office, the Vice President-elect will step forward on the inaugural platform and repeat the oath of office to ensure that the Vice President can potentially be elevated to President if an unforeseen event (death, illness, etc.) caused the President-elect, to not be able to assume the office. The Twelfth Amendment establishes that the Vice President must meet all the qualifications of being a President.
The oath of office of the Vice President of the United States is the oath or affirmation that the Vice President of the United States takes upon assuming the Vice-Presidency but before he or she begins the execution of the office. It is the same oath that members of the United States Congress and members of the President’s cabinet take upon entering office. Harris will be the nation’s first female Vice President. She will swear to “support and defend the Constitution” and “faithfully discharge the duties of the office”.
Since the 1981 inauguration of Ronald Reagan, the ceremony has been held at the west front of the United States Capitol facing the National Mall with its iconic Washington Monument and distant Lincoln Memorial.
Every US President since George Washington has delivered the inaugural address. Trump had spoken for 16 minutes, making a vow to break the “established order” and “make America great again”. But for Biden, the focus is likely to be on the important areas of his policies: the pandemic, the economy, climate change, healthcare and the need for uniting the Americans again, whether they voted for him or not. “With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” Biden said in a statement. “It’s time for America to unite.” Biden has also unveiled a $1.9 trillion plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, boosting financial aid for Americans and businesses.
Biden and Vice President Harris will then lay a wreath and conduct a Pass in Review inspection of the troops at the Capitol. They will be joined by their partners, Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff. Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will join Biden for the wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington Cemetery after the inauguration.
The Bidens will receive a presidential escort from 15th Street to the White House after the swearing-in. The escort will include representatives of every branch of the military.
In 1989 from the beginning of January, I was interning with NBC News in New York as part of my Fulbright Fellowship programme through Syracuse University. Tom Brokaw was the MD of the network and the anchor of the Nightly News with Bill Wheatley as the Chief Producer. I was a budding news producer with the DD network and the two graciously gave me the honour to be a part of their coverage team which specially flew to Washington, in a sizeable number, and, as other networks, took the roof of a state building along the Pennsylvania avenue, overlooking the Capitol, and made a temporary studio and elaborate technical arrangements for a live coverage. The inauguration of George H.W. Bush as the 41st President of the United States was held on Friday, 20 January 1989, at the West Front of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. This was the 51st inauguration and marked the commencement of the only term of both George H.W. Bush as President and Dan Quayle as Vice President. The TV team was housed in Sheraton on K Street, just behind the White House. There was a mighty competition amongst the major US networks then, as it is now, of being the leader in important telecasts—something that we too witness in our country, trying to make more sense out of nonsense and hyperbole.
The inauguration is also a notable fundraising opportunity for the incoming President. Even though traditional events like balls have been cancelled, Biden’s inaugural committee has offered special “VIP participation” to corporations and individuals who can use the opportunity to curry favour with the new administration.
Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez along with Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi and Demi Lovato will also take the stage at the inauguration ceremony. Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem while Lopez will give a musical performance. Moreover, Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute TV special, ‘Celebrating America’, which will air right after the swearing-in ceremony on all major networks, including social media and Amazon Prime.
For those who will watch the ceremony on the screen, local bars and restaurants have planned special commemorative dishes, beers and cocktails. Biden’s choice and his own state Delaware’s most famous food export is Capriotti’s, a national chain of sandwich shops that began in Wilmington. When the first Capriotti’s opened in D.C. in 2013, Biden had remarked to reporters, “This is going to settle, once and for all, the best sandwich in America is out of Wilmington, Delaware.” It went with him to the White House. The “Bobbie” is Capriotti’s best-selling Thanksgiving sub, filled with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.
Television had already brought such events into our living rooms, and with the pandemic making things take place virtually, the trend has further changed, not only in terms of attendance but how expansively and lavishly they are organised.
USE DESIGN THINKING, INNOVATION TO BREAK SHACKLES OF LEARNING OUTCOMES: VINEET NAYAR
Founder of Sampark Foundation says the biggest problem in education in India has to do with poor learning outcomes.
NewsX was recently joined by Vineet Nayar, founder and chairman of Sampark Foundation, and former CEO of HCL Technologies, for an exclusive conversation as part of its special series NewsX India A-List, wherein he spoke about his foundation and education system in India.
Talking about the Sampark Foundation, Nayar said, “It is a very interesting story. I was, as you are aware, CEO and Vice-Chairman of HCL Technologies and I had just written a book called ‘Employees First, Customer Second’, which sold very well, and New York Times had just done an article on the book. So, I was feeling very good, my head was about ten times larger than what you see today. I made a mistake by walking up to my mother, who was a school teacher and told her, “Look, how proud you should be of your son and aren’t you lucky that this son was born to you”. She, being a school teacher, took out a copy, tore it in half and wrote one word on it, put it in a used envelope, sealed it and said, “When you are flying internationally, read it on the flight.”
“I was going to New York that night and I opened the envelope on the flight, which had one word written on it. The word was ‘Enough’. So, I landed in New York, called up my mother and asked her, “What does this word ‘enough’ mean?” She said, “If you don’t understand it, you will understand it on your way back”, and I did. There comes a time in life when you have achieved the financial security you need, you have achieved the level of recognition for your professional work, which you need. That’s the time you need to say- ‘Enough’ and quit those two goals and dedicate yourself to try and bring about a change in the country so that you can give back. Because, the reason for your success, I very strongly believe, is because your family and the country as a family made you successful. You are not successful because of yourself. Therefore, one-third of your life you should dedicate yourself to making sure that, those people who made you successful are better off than they were without you and that is how the Sampark Foundation really began.”
Speaking about the goal of the foundation, Vineet Nayar said, “Since my mother was a teacher and my wife, Anukhma is also a special education teacher, we started the Sampark Foundation and we had committed a large sum of funds from our family to invest in the field of education. When we saw the field of education, we realized that there are about 15 crore children in our government system. Almost 50% of them in Grade 5, cannot read Grade 2 texts or solve basic mathematical problems. So, the learning outcome in our schooling system was very large and what was also alarming, was that 37% of the children enrolled in government schools were getting out of schools by Grade 5. Therefore, they were going to the labour pool. So, me, my wife and my mother decided that we are going to spend all our might, all our design thinking, creative thinking, all our resources to try and see if we can help the government in solving this problem to a certain extent. That is the reason we chose education. The second decision we had to take was: do we want to do it small or do we do it at a large scale. Because India is a very large country and therefore, it was very important for us to attempt a change at a very large scale. There were some very good experiments happening at small scales, so we decided to experiment at a large scale. So today, we have 1 crore children in our program in 84,000 schools in 6 states. The learning outcome improvement is about 34% year on year. All this is possible because we used design thinking and innovation to try and break the shackles of learning outcomes”.
When asked about the biggest challenges or problems in the Indian education system and how Sampark Foundation is working towards overcoming these problems, Nayar said, “I think the biggest problem in education has to do with poor learning outcome, the fact that especially in rural areas, the resources, the quality of teaching and teachers is poor and therefore, neither the teacher is interested nor the child is interested. Therefore, the learning outcome continues to go down. The amount of resources required to bring about a change is very, very large. In addition to this problem, we suddenly, because of Covid had a massive setback. When the children are sitting at home, then when they get detached from education even for one year, they lose interest in education. Once they lose interest in education then even those children who were self-driven would not be able to come back. So, Sampark Foundation used design thinking extensively, to find out how we can make education exciting. We were inspired by Bollywood and especially with Vidya Balan’s voice in Munnabhai M.B.B.S., when she says, ‘Good morning Mumbai’. So, we said, how can we bring the song and dance of Bollywood and equivalent voice of Vidya Balan into the classroom, using a rechargeable audio device and teach Math and English with song, dance, fun and suddenly ignite the classroom and make learning exciting or fun based. Can we surround that innovation with other teaching and learning innovation? Therefore, suddenly going to school is all about fun. So, we did that, we rolled it out to 1 crore children and it was very successful and then came Covid. Now, when Covid came it became very important for us to do two things. First, to be in touch with the teachers to make sure that the teacher is interested in education. So, we launched an app called ‘Sampark Smartshala’, where there are almost 20 lakh views on a monthly basis. Second, we encouraged the teachers to use loudspeakers in the villages, in marriage halls, mandirs, mosques and use ‘Sampark Tv’ and the audio device to keep on teaching the children, while they are sitting at home so that the interest in learning continues. So, our focus in the Sampark Foundation is to drive cutting edge design thinking, to try and solve the unsolvable problem in a very frugal way. All interaction in the Sampark Foundation, costs less than 1$ per child.”
GST SCAM GETS BIGGER, CAUSES HARYANA LOSS OF RS 464.14 CRORE
Fraudsters have caused a loss of Rs 464.14 crore in Haryana and the police have busted 4 major gangs related to issuing or registration of bogus firms involved in the GST fake invoice bills scam. The nexus of these fraudsters was active not only in Haryana but across the country. The crackdown on GST fake invoice scam has also led to the recovery of over Rs 112 crore and unearthing fake GST Identification Numbers (GSTIN). A total of 72 police cases have been filed so far in which 89 accused have been arrested by the Crime Branch. Among the total arrests, 40 cases have been registered majorly on Govind Sharma, Gaurav, Anupam Singla and Rakesh Arora.
Regarding the same, Manoj Yadava, DGP, said that these persons issued fraudulent invoices to numerous firms and companies without actual supply of goods through fraudulent e-Way bills (GST related challans for transporting consignments) and facilitated fake (Income Tax Credit) ITC entitlement on GST portal through GSTR-3B form. Police has also blocked inadmissible ITC worth of Rs 97.22 crore in Excise and Taxation Department.
A total of 21 FIRs against fake firms belonging to Govind gang active in Panipat and adjoining areas were lodged in year 2019 while other three gangs involved in major GST evasion were booked between 2018 and 2019. Police has so far blocked ITC of these gangs to the tune of over Rs 80 crore in Excise and Taxation Department. Sharing the details of major cases Yadava said that the Crime Branch Madhuban (Karnal unit) had already arrested Govind and his aides in 21 cases in a fake invoice scam worth Rs 44.79 crore. Crime Branch Karnal unit has recovered Rs 37.55 crore so far. The Hisar Crime unit has arrested Anupam Singla, a resident of Sirsa presently residing in Delhi, for evading GST amounting to Rs 157.39 crore without actual supply of cotton yarn material. During investigation, certain facts came into notice that police found blank signed cheque books pertaining to almost 173 different bank accounts, blank bilty books belonging to various transporters, identity proof of different persons, mobile SIM cards and other incriminating documents.
In another major operation again by Madhuban (Karnal Crime Unit), three cases were registered against a Panipat based Gaurav gang, which was involved in issuance of fake GST invoices without any supply of goods and services. He used to make shell firms which were issuing invoices worth crores of rupees and not paying tax and paying the entire liability through ITC. This gang had caused a GST loss of Rs 3.34 crore to the government exchequer out of which police had already recovered Rs 1.8 crore. In yet another instance, Rakesh Arora gang of Arjun Nagar Gurugram, caused a loss of more than Rs 100.77 crore by submitting fake bills of sales/purchase of goods. Crackdown on the accused by the Crime branch Gurugram unit led to the recovery of Rs 47.6 crore.
Elofic Industries, IIT Jammu and Vishwakarma Skill University launch Clean Air Tower
Elofic Industries Ltd inaugurated a proto-type of Clean Air Tower at its premises in Faridabad. The collaboration of Clean Air Tower was inspired by growing air pollution concerns, particularly in NCR. A proposal to construct a clean air tower was put forward by Chairman, Elofice, M.B. Sahni, Shri Vishwakarma Skill University Vice Chancellor Raj Nehru, and IIT Jammu Director Prof M.S. Gaur.
The research collaboration will result in an efficient and cost-effective product, says Vice-Chairman, Elofic, K.D. Sahni. The development of such a product can also be seen as an initiative towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat by each organisation utilising skills, technology and industry expertise in filtration altogether, said VC Raj Nehru.
To enhance the efficacy of current tower, a dedicated team of researchers including Dr Shiva S., Dr Sanjay Singh, Dr Mani, Kamlesh Koul and Dr Anuj Shukla from IIT Jammu, SVSU and Elofic are working through strong research-based inputs, simulation, analysis and testing, said Prof Gaur.
It is designed to cover up to 300m radial distance and delivers approximately 10,000 cubic feet per minute of clean air. The stainless-steel tower is designed considering the aesthetic look employing multiple filtration technologies.
The tower comprises a silencer to optimise the noise during operation and a water curtain, this has already been awarded a design patent. It also displays real-time data of the weather and pollution parameters of the surroundings. It is best suited to provide clean and fresh air for large gatherings and public places, like hospitals, hotels, airports, railway stations, building complexes, institutions, banquets, market places, etc.
Tirupati bypoll a chance to stop YSRCP atrocities, says Chandrababu Naidu
TDP national president and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu described the upcoming Tirupati by-election as a golden opportunity for the people to put a full stop to the atrocities of the Jaganmohan Reddy government.
Naidu asserted that for defeating the YSRCP, Tirupati should become the correct forum from where the people should deliver a historic verdict. “The Tirupati bypoll should serve as the first test for a referendum on the YSRCP misrule. The voters should send a message to the entire country from here,” he said.
Addressing a meeting of party Tirupati parliamentary segment leaders, the TDP chief said that the revolt had begun against the misdeeds of the Jagan regime and there has been an increasingly good response to the TDP protests everywhere. The young generation was actively coming forward to agitate against the ruling party. The success of Ramatheertham visit and Bhogi bonfire protests were clear indications of rising anti-establishment feelings.
Naidu accused the Andhra Pradesh DGP of acting under the direction of CM Jagan and as per the script of Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy without abiding by the laws of the land. On Bhogi day, the DGP said mad men were responsible for the temple attacks but he changed his statement on Kanuma and attributed them to the Opposition parties. The government was complacent till 150 attacks took place on the temples and idols, he added.
The TDP chief said that the whole state had seen how the Kodi Kathi case and the Viveka murder cases took place. Attempts were made to protect the very culprits by terming Viveka’s murder as a heart attack death. Even in the Kodi Kathi case, false allegations were made against the TDP. In the recent Ramatheertham incident, a physical attack was made on Suri Babu who was also implicated. The Government failed to prevent the temple attacks and started mudslinging on the TDP.
Naidu deplored that the YSRCP activists actually responsible for the temple attacks were being saved from the cases. But those who were exposing these attacks out of devotion were being implicated. No cases were on those who were demolishing the idols. Cases were filed against the TDP leaders for visiting Ramatheertham while there was no case against Vijay Sai Reddy and YSRCP leaders who provoked the crowds.
Naidu demanded the government to explain whether the TDP was responsible for the attack on the priest at Omkara Kshetram in Kurnool district. “Everybody knew who whipped the sons of the priest. Priest Srinivasa Chakravarthy attempted suicide at Chirala due to lack of salaries for the last 3 months. Nobody knew how the silver lions disappeared from Kanaka Durga temple chariot and how the Antarvedi and Konda Bitragunta temple chariots were burnt. The government owes an explanation to the people on the incidents at Simhadri Appanna Temple, Srikalahasti, Annavaram and Kanipakam.”
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