Two lakh signatures being collected in support of CAA, to be sent to BJP leadership - The Daily Guardian
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Two lakh signatures being collected in support of CAA, to be sent to BJP leadership

Arup Kali

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The feud continues within Bengal BJP. Show cause letters have been issued to two state-level leaders to stop the spread of insurgency within the party. According to sources, they have taken refuge in Delhi in the context of this letter and have also asked for time to meet JP Nadda.

According to BJP sources, MP Shantanu Thakur spoke on phone with JP Nadda. When Thakur arrives in Delhi for the upcoming budget session, there may be a meeting with the all-India President. On the other hand, despite contact with the central leadership, the agitated group is increasing the pressure. Thakur took to the field by uniting the Matuas in the districts. A total of two lakh signatures in support of CAA will be collected and sent to the central leadership in Delhi.

The West Bengal BJP has already sent show-cause notices to two disgruntled leaders, Jayaprakash Majumdar and Ritesh Tiwari, to quell the revolt within the party. On Sunday, Majumdar had a meeting with another agitated leader and Thakur. The gist of the meeting is something like this: “Save BJP movement” will continue. The show-cause notice was issued by the Bengal BJP in the hope that a message might be given this time. But even after this show, Majumdar had a meeting with Thakur for about two hours.

Meanwhile, Tiwari is also reckless after the show-cause notice. He directly raised counter-questions against party discipline. He questioned why the media was informed before he knew about the notice.

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NIA court convicts Kashmiri separatist Yasin Malik

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Yasin Malik, a separatist leader from Jammu and Kashmir, on Thursday was convicted by a National Investigation Agency (NIA) court. He had pleaded guilty in the terror funding case on the last date of the hearing. The NIA has been asked to give an affidavit on the socio-economic status of convict Yasin Malik after taking the help of local authorities. Malik is also directed to file an affidavit disclosing all sources of his income and assets (movable and immovable). Special NIA Judge Praveen Singh on Thursday posted the matter for arguments on the quantum of sentence for 25 May.

Malik had told the court that he was not contesting the charges levelled against him that included Sections 16 (terrorist act), 17 (raising funds for terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy to commit terrorist act) and 20 (being member of terrorist gang or organisation) of the UAPA and Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 124-A (sedition) of the IPC. Recently, the court had ordered the framing of charges against several separatist leaders including Yasin Malik under UAPA and IPC.

Meanwhile, the court formally framed the charges against other Kashmiri separatist leaders who are accused in the case. Farooq Ahmed Dar alias Bitta Ka

rate, Shabbir Shah, Masarat Alam, Md Yusuf Shah, Aftab Ahmad Shah, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Khan, Md Akbar Khanday, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Abdul Rashid Sheikh and Naval Kishore Kapoor on Tuesday formally signed the court order copy and said they are ready to face trial in the case.

The NIA Judge, while passing the order said, “The analysis reflects that the statements of witnesses and documentary evidence have connected almost all the accused with each other and to a common object of secession, to the commonality of means they were to use, their close association to terrorist/ terrorist organizations under the guiding hand and funding of Pakistani establishment.”

On 16 March, the NIA Court had ordered the framing of charges against Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, among others.

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CENTRE UPS SECURITY IN PUNJAB AHEAD OF ‘OPERATION BLUE STAR’ ANNIVERSARY

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Alarmed by the ISI’s renewed attempt to foment trouble in Punjab on “Operation Blue Star” anniversary on 1 June, the Centre on Thursday rushed 10 paramilitary or Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) companies to the state.

The Ministry of Home Affairs took the decision after a meeting between Home Minister Amit Shah and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann. Emerging out of the meeting, Mann said, “10 paramilitary companies have been already sent to Punjab earlier. Union Home Minister has assured to provide 10 more paramilitary companies by today evening to maintain law and order in Punjab.

The decision was prompted by a series of Intelligence Bureau (IB) and other reports that pointed towards sinister designs by Pakistan’s ISI to reignite the Khalistani movement and disturb law and order in a big way in the border state.

Sources told The Daily Guardian that ISI had a secret meeting in Lahore in the first week of May with several Punjab-centric terror outfits such as Babbar Khalsa chief Wadhawa Singh, Khalistan Jindabad Force chief Ranjit Singh Neeta, Khalistan Commando Force’s Paramjeet Singh and Rinda.

The meeting along with many other specific intelligence reports rang alarm bells both at the Centre and Punjab. The IB has already alerted the state government that pro-Khalistani elements may go big to disturb law and order on and before the anniversary of “Operation Blue Star” on 1 June. The IB sources said that the ISI had instructed the pro-Khalistani modules to unleash massive violence in Punjab with the help of gangsters who are in jails.

The Daily Guardian has learnt that the Punjab-centric outfits which have been operating from Pakistani soil have been told to supply weapons to pro-Khalistani modules in Punjab in a big way. The grenade attack on Punjab Police Intelligence Wing headquarters in Mohali this month was one such attempt, lodged by Pakistan-based gangster Harvinder Singh alias “Rinda”. Four Khalistani terrorists who were arrested in Karnal in Haryana recently with RDX and other weapons were also part of Babbar Khalsa. Rinda was a key person in the supply chain. Rinda, who is now operating from Lahore, is said to be supplying weapons to Punjab through drone at the behest of ISI. Rinda is now the blue-eyed boy of ISI and a key operator in planning and coordinating various fringe pro-Khalistani groups.

IB sources said that Pakistan has chalked out fresh plans to disturb Punjab along with Kashmir since Nadeem Anjum became the ISI chief a few months back. ISI has also embarked on major plans to mobilise support of pro-Khalistani elements residing in the UK, US, Canada and Italy.

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Ex Punjab Congress senior Sunil Jakhar joins BJP

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Disgruntled Congress leader and former Punjab party chief Sunil Jakhar on Thursday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in presence of the party national president J.P. Nadda in Delhi. Welcoming Jakhar into the party, Nadda said, “I welcome Sunil Jakhar to Bharatiya Janata Party. He is an experienced political leader who made a name for himself during his political career. I am confident he will play a big role in strengthening the party in Punjab.”

After joining BJP, Jakhar said: “Three generations of my family served the Congress party over the last 50 years. Today, I have broken the 50-year-old tie with Congress over issues of nationalism, unity and brotherhood in Punjab.” Jakhar said: “Congress is a party of sycophants now. It has got rid of all its core values. So, I though it is better to leave Congress. What Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP are doing are the tasks that I wanted to do for the country, but could not. Now I hope to do those jobs by following their footsteps.”

Jakhar, who was stripped of all posts previously, quit Congress last Saturday during a Facebook Live event. On 11 April, Congress leaders K.V. Thomas and Sunil Jakhar were issued show-cause notices for breaching party discipline. “I don’t hold any post (in the party); I have an ideology. I want to ask Sonia Gandhi that being Congress president, doesn’t she know that I hold no position in the party? Then why a show-cause notice is being given to me?” he asked. Jakhar had quit the Congress after lashing out at former Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Twitter, saying that he was “not an asset” as portrayed by the party leadership. He also lashed out at veteran Congress leader Ambika Soni for her statement on the “repercussions of having a Hindu chief minister in Punjab”. Jakhar also held Soni’s statement as one of the reasons for the Congress’ drubbing in the Punjab Assembly polls earlier this year.

After quitting Congress, Jakhar has now again jumped into active politics. However, while in Congress, he had announced to leave active politics. His joining the BJP may increase the troubles of the Congress as the Congress is divided into two factions in Punjab. New Congress President Amarinder Singh Raja Warring and Punjab Congress in-charge Harish Chaudhary have demanded disciplinary action from the high command against former Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu.

The Daily Guardian spoke to sources close to Jakhar and according to them, BJP may nominate him as a Rajya Sabha member as well. In view of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, BJP is engaged in empowering itself in Punjab. Jakhar joining the BJP as the Hindu face could give him a big advantage. BJP can also entrust him with important responsibility in Punjab.

Jakhar can play an important role in bringing disgruntled Congressmen to the BJP. After joining the BJP, he can also create new political equations in Punjab by aligning with former CM Captain Amarinder as he had good relations with the Captain during the Congress. The Congress had last month removed him from all posts for alleged anti-party activities. Jakhar had expressed displeasure over the notice served by party leader Tariq Anwar, who said he was the person who once called Sonia Gandhi a foreigner. Jakhar was removed from the post of PPCC chief in July 2021 as he was considered close to ex CM of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh.

Recently, in another development, Captain Amarinder Singh’s wife, Congress MP Preneet Kaur, was denied to be described as “a Congressian” by Raja Warring. Therefore, there is also a strong possibility that any decision of the Congress high command can bring Preneet Kaur to the BJP’s doorstep.

WITH BUREAU AND AGENCY INPUTS

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INVESTORS LOSE RS 7 LAKH CR AS SENSEX CRASHES

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The Indian stock markets’ key indices, Sensex and Nifty, tumbled by more than 2.5% on Thursday tracking the meltdown in the global equities on fears of a recession in the world economy due to the prolonged Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The 30 stock S&P BSE Sensex tumbled 1,416.30 points or 2.61% to 52,792.23 points against its previous day’s close at 54,208.53 points. Tracking overnight selloff in the Wall Street, the Indian equities markets’ key indices started the trade on Thursday with massive losses. The Sensex opened sharply down at 53,070.30 points and tumbled to a low of 52,669.51 points in the intra-day. The Sensex had lost 109.94 points or 0.20% on Wednesday.

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SC sends Sidhu to jail for a year in 1988 case

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In a major setback, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has been sentenced to one year imprisonment by the Supreme Court in a road rage case that is three decades old. The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the review application on the sentence against Sidhu, saying, “We have allowed review application on the issue of sentence. In addition to the fine imposed, we impose a sentence of imprisonment of one year to be undergone by respondent Sidhu.” The order was delivered by a bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul. On 27 December 1988, Sidhu allegedly beat Gurnam Singh on his head, leading to his death.

Sidhu refused to comment after the sentencing. “No comments,” he told reporters. Later the former Punjab Congress chief, 58, who had participated in a protest on fuel prices on Thursday morning, tweeted, “Will submit to the majesty of law…” For over three decades, the case has dogged Sidhu, who recently quit as Punjab Congress chief after his party’s defeat in state elections.

Earlier the court had reserved the review petition in a three-decade-old road rage case filed by the family of the victim. Sidhu opposed the plea seeking to enlarge the scope of the road rage case against him citing an earlier order of the apex court, which held that there was no evidence that the death of the victim was caused by a single

blow.

Sidhu’s submission came while replying to an application filed by family members of the victim seeking to enlarge the scope of notice in the review petition. Sidhu, responding to the application filed by the petitioner seeking to enlarge the scope of notice, submitted that the application was devoid of any merit and ought to be dismissed.

Sidhu was acquitted in connection with the culpable homicide charges but was convicted of the offence of voluntarily causing hurt. The court had slapped a fine of Rs 1,000 on Sidhu. The court had also acquitted Sidhu’s associate, Rupinder Singh Sandhu, in the case.

The case has gone through Session Court, High Court and Supreme Court. The Sessions Court Judge of Patiala had on 22 September 1999, acquitted Sidhu and his associate, due to lack of evidence in the case and giving the benefit of the doubt.

It was then challenged by the victim’s family before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had in 2006, convicted and sentenced Sidhu to three years imprisonment. Sidhu then filed an appeal before the apex court challenging this order.

On 27 December 1988, Sidhu allegedly beat Gurnam Singh on his head, leading to his death. According to the prosecution, Sidhu and Sandhu were in a Gypsy parked in the middle of the road near the Sheranwala Gate Crossing in Patiala, when the victim and two others were on their way to the bank to withdraw money. When they reached the crossing, it was alleged that Gurnam Singh, driving a Maruti car, found the Gypsy in the middle of the road and asked the occupants, Sidhu and Sandhu, to remove it. This led to a heated exchange. Sidhu allegedly beat Gurnam Singh on his head, leading to his death.

WITH AGENCY INPUTS

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INDIA RAISES UKRAINE ISSUE AT BRICS MEETING, SEEKS END TO HOSTILITIES

At the virtual meeting, Xi Jinping spoke of hegemonism, while EAM S. Jaishankar gave a clear message to both Russia and China about the need to respect territorial integrity and international law.

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As China’s President Xi Jinping in his video address at the opening session of BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting on Thursday underlined the need for “opposing hegemonism and power politics, and respecting each other’s sovereignty”, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, in what was seen as a message to China, said: “BRICS has repeatedly affirmed respect for sovereign equality, territorial integrity and international law”. “We must live up to these commitments,” Jaishankar said. Foreign Ministers of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) at the virtual meet hosted by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi shared their views on global economic and political issues.

What Jaishankar said is also being interpreted by diplomats as a blunt counter to the Chinese President who sounded high on rhetoric on what he called “strengthening political mutual trust and security cooperation, maintaining close communication and coordination on major international and regional issues.” With Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in attendance, Jaishankar called for respecting territorial integrity in no uncertain terms. Similarly, Jaishankar urged the BRICS nations to display zero tolerance towards terrorism, especially cross-border terrorism. This was a message for China’s all-weather friend Pakistan, which is using non-state actors for a proxy war against India.

Diplomats said that this remark by Jaishankar should be seen in the context of Xi’s stress on enhancing security cooperation among the BRICS nations. China was suggested to lead from the front in terms of security cooperation that its leader was referring to, said a diplomat.

Diplomatic sources told The Daily Guardian that Jaishankar’s statement at the meeting of BRICS Foreign Ministers assumes more significance amid media reports about China constructing a second bridge on Pangong Tso. As the BRICS FMs’ meeting was under

way, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Thursday, while replying to a query during a regular press briefing, said, “We have seen reports on this bridge or a second bridge… We are monitoring the situation. Of course, we always felt it was occupied…Talks are on with the Chinese side.”

Sources said that at MEA and Defence Ministry officials at the high-level meetings are monitoring and analysing the activities by Chinese forces and a future course of action will be decided. “Jaishankar’s message to China should be seen against the background of fresh developments as well,” sources said.

In his address, Xi said, “BRICS countries need to strengthen political mutual trust and security cooperation, maintain close communication and coordination on major international and regional issues, accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns, respect each other’s sovereignty, security and development interests, oppose hegemonism and power politics, reject Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation, and work together to build a global community of security for all.”

Jaishankar used the opportunity provided by the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting held virtually to give a message to Pakistan and China on the issues that India faces from their sides. The EAM stressing the need for BRICS nations to live up to the commitments on respecting territorial integrity, sovereignty and international law of other countries was also a message for Russia over its military operations against Ukraine. Sources said the EAM also highlighted humanitarian concern apart from calling for a halt to hostilities in Ukraine. He stressed on the need for Russia and Ukraine to resolve the problems through dialogue.

Jaishankar highlighted eight key points, and added that the member nations must not only seek socio-economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic but also create resilient supply chains. In a reference to Ukraine, Jaishankar said that the sharp rise in costs must be mitigated for the sake of the developing world. “Knock-on effects of the Ukraine conflict led to a sharp rise in energy, food costs; it must be mitigated for the sake of the developing world,” Jaishankar added. He said, “BRICS should unanimously and specifically support UN Security Council reform.” Jaishankar also spoke about pressing for credible commitment of resources by developed nations for climate action and climate justice. A globalised and digitised world will give due regard to trust and transparency, he said, adding sustainable development goals must be approached in a comprehensive manner.

The MEA statement said, “BRICS FMs discussed the situation in Ukraine and supported talks between Russia and Ukraine. The ministers also expressed strong condemnation of terrorism whenever, wherever, and by whom-so-ever, and also expressed commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including cross-border movement of terrorists.”

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