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Any immediate respite for parents?

While the recent Gujarat High Court judgment comes as a great relief to parents by upholding state governments law for regulating school fees, how soon the parents will be able to benefit of the same remains something to be watched for.At a time when many schools across the state have started collecting fees for the next academic year, there is still no clarity on the fees for next academic year. The processes of the fee regulatory committee may take some time and, hence, schools are mulling over their decision for fees in the interim period.Commenting on the judgment, Association of Progressive Schools (AoPS) said, “Now that the judgment has come we wish government will ensure that the schools can function smoothly without having to compromise on the quality of school education in Gujarat which has started improving over the last decade.”AoPS member schools range from JG International school, Udgam school, Divine Child International School. Delhi Public School, Anand Niketan school, etc.An academician requesting anonymity said, “The order seems to be a small win in a huge battle. Even today, schools can approached the Supreme Court or they can approach the FRC. If they go to the FRC in three weeks, as per law, FRC will have to pass an order in 90 days. Even if FRC passes an order early and well in time, schools can then go for revision which again would take 90 days and eventually higher court. All of this process will take a lot of time and there is no clarity on fees for next academic year.Sources said the schools may approach the government and ask to form guideliness for FRC as per the high court order. A major concern of this entire Act is that there is no upper limit of fees. As per the order, if schools can justify to the FRC, they can charge higher fees.Dharmesh Patel, one of the parents of the association of Tripada International School in Ghatlodia, said, “The decision is great, but the biggest challenge will be to see how and when the state government implements the same. Since the Act has been upheld by the court, the responsibility of the government becomes double ensuring justice to parents. Also, since there is hardly any school which had gone to the high court, FRC’s should not take a long time.”Raising an important concern, Pooja Prajapati, President, Parents Ekta Manch said, “We welcome the decision and it is a victory for the parents. However, some questions have remained unanswered. The court has allowed schools to file an appeal in six weeks regarding their concern. Then what is the point of keeping fee slabs. Taking advantage of this slab, many schools that used to charge Rs 7000 or so and if they now increase till Rs 15000, there is no clarity on the same. Our fight will go on.”Ruchi Chaudhary, Managing Trustee, Shankus Foundation, Divine Child International School said, “We welcome the high court order and follow the notifications of going to FRC for an increment of fees so as to maintain the quality of education and other quality amenities we offer to our students.”Manan Choksi, managing director, Udgam School for Children said, “We are getting a legal opinion on whether should we collect fees up to certain amount or not collect at all. While we can return post dated cheques collected from parents once the order of FRC comes, but need some clarity to plan yearly expenses.”Schools need to approach FRC in three weeks FRC to give its order in 90 days If schools are not satisfied, they can apply for revision (90 days) Eventually they can approach a higher court Aggrieved parents have no place to approach *No upper limit of fees for justification

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Most schools to charge by the month

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Schools across the city are in a fix over new admissions. While the admission season for nursery begins after Diwali, this year the same has been delayed.Due to an unclear picture, most schools have changed their admissions as per the Fee Regulatory Act. Most schools have decided to charge admission, term, and monthly fees on a per-month basis. MP Chandran, spokesperson of Association of Progressive Schools (AoPS) said, “We have communicated to our member schools that we have decided to charge admission fee for only one month as per the Act, subject to the decision by the HC. We are considering only sibling cases in JG International school.”Parents and school community have been in confusion since March 30 when the state government through its Gujarat Self-Financed School (Regulation of Fees Bill), 2017, put a cap on annual fees of self-financed schools across Gujarat at Rs 15,000 for primary section, Rs 25,000 for secondary and Rs 27,000 for higher secondary classes.Manan Chokshi, Managing Trustee, Udgam School for Children said, “Since there is no clarity from the state government as well as the HC yet, we have decided to start our admissions from December 1…. We have decided to charge admission fee only for one month along with regular fees. At the moment, we are only accepting inquiries and shortlisting them.”

Yet another scam from tainted mines dept

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Trust babus to do anything you wish only if you are ready to grease their palms. Nothing else explains the manner in which mines department officials allotted mines of a deceased person to a private firm and allowed it to extract minerals worth millions for nine months.The scam was spotted by mines minister Surendra Pal Singh TT who not only cancelled the allotment but also ordered an inquiry to fix responsibility to take action against officers hand in glove with the firm in swindling public resources.There were five mines of china clay and red ochre in Chittorgarh and Bhilwara that were allotted to Sher Khan who was a key figure in multi crore mining scam exposed by anti corruption bureau in 2015. Sher Khan died in January 2016. As per rules, mines allotted to a person can be transferred only to his blood relatives.However, an additional director in the mines department along with some other officials allotted these mines to Progressive and Popular Minerals Private Limited on the pretext that firm owners were relatives of Sher Khan who was originally allotment holder of these mines. This firm mined for nine months unabated making millions and goes without saying shared some profit with mines department officials who transferred these mines to its name illegally.Sher Khan’s daughter Tanuja Khan filed a complaint. Inquiry by Managing director of RSMM found the complaint true and recommended cancellation of mines allotment to the company in addition to action against guilty officers. This report was pushed under the carpet.But, when Surendra Pal Singh was given charge of the department, he sought files of every allotment or transfer worth Rs 50 lakh and more. While going through files, he came across this matter and asked for immediate cancellation of allotment of Sher Khan’s five mines to Progressive and Popular Minerals Private Limited besides initiated another inquiry to ascertain roles of officers involved in this scam.The mines allotment was cancelled four months ago but till date neither money recovered from the guilty firm nor was action taken against the corrupt officers, which once again raises question on working of the mining department.

JNU’s move to replace gender sensitisation body faces flak

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) decision to replace the 18-year-old Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) with an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) has been slammed by the varsity’s women groups. Several groups have, in fact, written to Vice-Chancellor (V-C) Jagadesh Kumar, urging him to retract any attempt to “dilute” the autonomous nature of the body.”It is regrettable that in the recent past, the JNU administration has made concerted attempts to erode the independent functioning of the GSCASH and violate its norms and rules. This fact is particularly alarming because the administration has approached the Executive Council and tried to get some cases of sexual harassment against persons in authority removed,” read the letter undersigned by several women’s groups, including the All India Progressive Women’s Association and ANHAD.The university’s decision has created uproar among student and teacher fraternity on the campus, mainly regarding the authorities’ direct involvement in selecting the members for ICC. GSCASH included four elected faculty members, of whom at least two were women, four elected student representatives, of whom at least two were women, an elected woman official, as well as an elected woman staff member, among others. The ICC, however, will have only three student representatives, three faculty members, and two non-teaching staffers.The students have been protesting over the issue. “We will not let the administration attack the autonomous and democratic composition of GSCASH and replace it with its handpicked ‘nominated’ members,” JNU Student Union’s (JNUSU) newly elected President Geeta Kumar said. Kumar is also a member of GSCASH.The letter added: “We extend our support to protesting students and urge the V-C and members of the Executive Council to retract any attempt to dilute the effectiveness of GSCASH.”CREATES UPROARThe university’s decision has created uproar among student and teacher fraternity.
The students have been protesting over the issue.

Right to Privacy ‘part of right to liberty’, but subject to reasonable restrictions- Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Centre on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Right to Privacy asserting that its a part of the Right to Liberty, but is also “subject to reasonable restrictions.” Addressing a press conference, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The government welcomes this judgement. The government has been consistently of the view particularly which refers to Aadhar. The Right to Privacy should be a fundamental right and it should be subject to the reasonable restrictions.” In a scathing attack on the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Prasad said that Aadhar back then had no protection of law. “The Aadhar during the UPA regime had no protection of law. How could the government collect data or insist upon biometrics without any legislative sanction? We made the Aadhar law and provided a legal framework for protection of its data,” Prasad said. The Union Law Minister further averred that the essence of Supreme Court judgement is a wider affirmation of the observation made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Rajya Sabha. “The Aadhar system operates on the principle of Minimum Information, Maximum Use. The Aadhar has shown its utility in a very short span of time. It is completely safe and secure,” he added. Earlier in the day, the nine-judge Constitution bench of the apex court overruled the M.P. Sharma (1962) and Kharak Singh (1954) judgement and gave the verdict that privacy was a fundamental right of a citizen. A five-judge constitutional bench is to decide whether the Aadhar violates the Right to Privacy or not. On July 26, the Centre had told the apex court that there is a fundamental right to privacy, which is a ‘wholly qualified right’ too, and in special circumstances, the government can interfere in a matter that comes under a wholly qualified right. An absolute right cannot be reduced or amended.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Decriminalise homosexuality, penalise marital rape: Activits urge SC after Triple Talaq verdict

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the Supreme Court on Tuesday banned instant triple talaq, activists urged the apex court to also take steps to decriminalise homosexuality and penalise marital rape.The triple talaaq verdict should open people’s minds to more progressive laws, gay rights activist Harish Iyer said. “Any step in the direction of liberty for the most marginalised should be seen as a wave that all allied causes could ride on. The verdict should open our minds to more progressive laws, including on Section 377,” Iyer said. While the issue of Section 377 of the IPC, which criminalises homosexuality, is pending before the top court, it has been reluctant to make marital rape a criminal offence. “SC rightly held instant triple talaq unconstitutional, didn’t pass the buck to Parliament. Isn’t it a shame SC didn’t do the same on Section 377 (of the Indian Penal Code),” tweeted Kavita Krishnan, Secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association.”Dear SC, after this will you please hold marital rape, including of minor wives, unconstitutional, undo regressive verdict on it,” she said. The SC ruling today was pronounced on a petition filed two years ago by Shayara Bano, a woman from Uttarakhand whose husband of 15 years sent her a letter with talaq written three times on it and left her. Similar petitions filed by four other women were heard with Bano’s petition. “We welcome the SC judgement. Triple talaq is a discriminatory practice that violates women’s right to equality, and has devastated the lives of many Muslim women,” said the programmes director at Amnesty International India, Asmita Basu.She urged the government to repeal all religious family laws that violated women?s right to equality. Earlier in the day, in a landmark verdict, the SC by a majority of 3:2 ruled that the practice of instant divorce through triple talaq among Muslims was “void”, “illegal” and “unconstitutional”. The apex court said the practice went against the tenets of Quran. “This is a positive step in the right direction. Now is the time to raise the issues of marital rape and Section 377. It is the time to focus on gender-just laws across communities,” said women’s right activist Jagmati Sangwan, former general secretary, the All India Democratic Women’s Association.

Private schools introduce Gujarati language in early classes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In order to push and revive Gujarati language in the state, some private schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and international board have introduced Gujarati language in earlier classes voluntarily.CBSE introduces three language formula for students, giving them a choice from class 6 onwards. While many schools teach two levels of the language before class 6, there are many who introduce the language in class 4 so that students have a good grip over the language.Surender Sachdeva, principal, DPS Bopal said, “While CBSE mandates three language formula from class 6, we have introduced the subject from class 5 so that children are better prepared. We are also contemplating to introduce Gujarati in class 4 as just three years of teaching a language is not sufficient. To enhance basic concept of a language, more classes are needed to be conducted.”He added that in class 9 and 10, over 100 students have opted for Gujarati. A member of Association of Progressive Schools (AoPS) Manan Choksi said, “Even if the board does not mandate to offer languages in early classes, I feel schools should voluntarily offer to teach Gujarati from class 3. Being in Gujarat, we need to promote and preserve the language which is dying.”International board does not have a mandate to offer languages in a particular class. But JG International school offers Gujarati and French from class 3 onwards.Kavita Sharma, principal, JGIS said, “We offer Gujarati and French as third language from class 3 itself. Research says students can learn more languages in early ages. Our main objective of offering Gujarati is to promote the regional language as we are in Gujarat.”Lamiya Shums, director, Anand Niketan, Shilaj, said, “We offer Gujarati from class 5 and Sanskrit from class 1. In class 5, students bifurcate as per their choice. For example, in class 5, we teach Gujarati textbook of state board of grade 3.”

Congress hits back at Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Congress on Sunday strongly hit back at Mahatma Gandhi?s great-grandson Shrikrishna Kulkarni for his barbs against Gopalkrishna Gandhi for becoming vice president candidate of the grand old party-led Opposition. Kulkarni had criticised Gandhi for siding with the party that is ?flanked by dynastic politics?. In response Congress leader Renuka Chowdhary criticised Kulkarni for ?taking advantage of the same (Mahatma Gandhi) dynasty? and misusing by writing such letters. ?On what authority is (Shri)Krish (Kulkarni) writing this, what is his identity that he is part of Mahatma Gandhi?s dynasty and that is how we are recognizing him today? Lakhs of Krish can write letters. What sets you apart is that so you are taking advantage of your dynasty’s connections,? Chowdhary told ANI. She further said that everyone has the ?dynastic right? to use Mahatma Gandhi?s legacy as he is the father of the nation. Another Congress leader Pawan Khera, however, refused to respond to Kulkarni?s remarks by saying, ?This could be his personal opinion and Gopalkrishna Gandhi has done a lot. He is a personality in himself who has contributed a lot and he is a joint opposition candidate, and he (Shrikrishna Kulkarni) is free to have his opinion.” Earlier Kulkarni lodged his protest against Gandhi?s decision for offering his candidature to the Congress. In a strongly worded letter to his uncle, Kulkarni criticised Gandhi for offering his candidature to a party which has ?re-institutionalized dynastic succession and has systematically eroded the political landscape of India.? He said that by joining the Opposition, Gandhi has ?tore apart the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Bhimrao Ambedkar.? ?The present President of the Congress Party has been in position for 18 years since 1998. Her son (5th generation of Nehru dynasty, starting from Motilal Nehru) is in line for succession. And, of all the people in this nation, you choose to offer yourself to be their candidate?? Kulkarni said. ?I saw with dismay the TV images of you going to file your nomination for the Vice President ? flanked by this family of dynastic politics. In that one instant, you tore apart the principles you espouse ? those of Mahatma Gandhi or Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, both of who were fearless and selfless leaders and who were dead against entitlements of birth,? he added. Questioning Gandhi?s silence over the scandals that have taken place under the erstwhile Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime, Kulkarni said, ?So many scandals over so many years, and not a single comment from you. Do you really believe all these are political vendetta? Do you really believe the citizens are fools? But, you still went ahead and have endorsed them.” ?I am sorry Gopu mama, but this decision of yours doesn?t build confidence, at least not in me. Rather, it is confidence betrayal (as they say in Tamil ? Nampikkai Throgam)!? he added. On July 18, Gopalkrishna Gandhi filed his nomination for vice president.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Demand for integration of whole Naga-inhabited areas difficult

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nagaland Chief Minister Sh rhozelie Liezietsu today said the demand for integration of the whole Naga-inhabited areas may be difficult at present. The demand for integration of the whole Naga-inhabited areas may be difficult at present but coming together under the umbrella of the Naga People’s Front (NPF) could be the first step to integrate the people emotionally and politically, Liezietsu said addressing a meeting of NPF Arunachal Pradesh state unit here. The Chief Minister also said that the NPF party should be introduced not only to all the Naga inhabited areas but to all tribal areas in the region stating that this will be the first step towards integrating the tribal people of the region. Liezietsu cited that after introducing NPF party to Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, Naga people living in the two states can now feel a sense of belongingness as one Naga family. Advising the party leaders from Arunachal Pradesh to work hard, the CM said that the NPF must participate in the next Arunachal Pradesh government so as to address the developmental issues faced by the Naga people in that state. He urged the Arunachal Pradesh NPF party leaders present at the meeting to take the torch of leadership and spread the good news of the NPF party to their state that only through NPF the voice of the Naga people can be heard in the government. In Manipur, the NPF has four MLAs, he said and appealed that the Naga people of Arunachal must send their representative in the next formation of Arunachal government. He reminded the gathering that in the event of the NPF party succeeding to gain entry in three Assemblies, the party would be recognised as a national party. Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) chairman and former chief minister, TR Zeliang addressing the gathering said NPF party is the only platform which can speak and address the needs and aspirations of the Naga people. He said that other Naga regional party such as recently-launched Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been formed to confuse the Naga people, but it is only the NPF that recognised the whole of Naga-inhabited areas and work for the people. Zeliang also stressed the need to learn the Nagamese language by fellow Nagas living outside Nagaland stating that it will the first step towards integrating our people. He expressed happiness that today s meeting could be conducted through the medium of Nagamese and said language is a great factor which unifies people. He also urged upon the party leaders not to be afraid to reveal their identity as Nagas but to work tirelessly for the uplift of the party. Minister for School Education Minister, Yitachu Minister for Rural Development CL John and Advisor to Chief Minister for DUDA and legislator in-charge of Arunachal Pradesh, N Thongwang also addressed the gathering.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Government schools ace Class X exams

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the Capital’s students may not have performed as well as expected there was a silver lining in the cloud . In a welcome trend, the city’s government schools, once again outperformed the private ones.”Delhi govt schools get 92.44% in Class 10 results; this is 3.19% higher than 2016 and 1.5% higher than CBSE national average,” Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia said in a series of tweets.”428 students of Delhi govt schools have got 10/10 CGPA and 282 (govt) schools have got 100% results,” he added.Though many students have scored a perfect 10 CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average) in CBSE class X examination, the pass percentage of the national capital slipped from last year’s 91.06 percent to 78.09, a fall of 13.67 per cent.A total of 3,67,699 students appeared from Delhi for the exams held in March, out of which 2,87,147 students have cleared it.Educationists point out that the low pass percentage is part of a worrying trend, as it has been steadily declining over the years. From a pass percentage of 98.40 in 2013, the number slumped to 91.76 per cent last year. This has further slipped to 78.09 this year.Some believe that private students, or students who opt for open learning are to blame. “Out of 2,37,872 students, who opted for school-based exams, 2,23,645 have passed which makes their passing percentage approximately 94 per cent. Similarly, the passing percentage of students who appeared in the board-based exams is approximately 95. Things went wrong with passing percentage of the private candidates,” said Ashok Pandey, Chairperson National Progressive School’s conference and principal of Ahlcon International School Mayur Vihar.As per data released by the board, out of 64,570 students, who opted for open learning, only 1,654 have passed. “That means 2.56 per cent of private candidates have passed the examination that collectively brings down the passing percentage of the national capital,” he said.I was overjoyed at scoring a perfect 10. I have taken PCM and aspire to become an engineer or an architect— Naomi Rajwanshi, Class X, 10 CGPAScoring 10 CGPA felt like a thirsty person getting water. I’ve chosen PCM and aspire to become an engineer— Oshi Raj, Class X, 10 CGPAI expected a 9.4 or 9.8. I’ve taken PCM along with Physical Education and aspire to join a good engineering college— Siddhant Singh, Class X, 10 CGPA& AnalysisThe drastic fall of the overall pass percentage of Class X students in the Capital is a big cause for concernStudents opting for open learning cannot be the only reason and schools need to think hard

MK Stalin to take the centre stage on dad’s birthday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The grand celebration of DMK President M Karunanidhi’s 94th birthday on Saturday will not only bring anti-BJP parties together in one platform, but will also mark the emergence of party’s de facto chief MK Stalin from his dad’s shadow.His father’s birthday celebration combined with diamond jubilee of his legislative career provides an opportunity for Stalin to establish himself as the sole leader of the DMK and to make a mark in national politics.A rally at the culmination of the birthday bash will be attended by a number of national leaders including Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and National Conference President Farooq Abdullah. Stalin’s is bringing together the anti-BJP parties on one platform to announce his arrival in national politics.Stalin’s father Karunanidhi was adept at playing roles in cobbling up alliances at the national level. Karunanidhi has played an active role in the launch of anti-Congress National Front in 1988 and also Congress-led United Progressive Alliance in 2004.Stalin is also planning for an anti-BJP alliance for the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.Prof Bernard D’Sami, a political analyst and professor of History at Loyola College, Chennai, feels that Saturday’s meeting will be a kind of anointment of Stalin as Karunanidhi’s successor in front of the national leaders. “Karunanidhi has groomed Stalin as his political heir. He has done that systematically for over three decades. It was not a sudden rise,” he said.

22,000 buses go off roads, lakhs stranded in TN

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Commuters across Tamil Nadu on Monday faced difficulty as 70 per cent of the 22,000 government-run buses remained off the roads.Major transport workers’ unions including DMK-backed Labour Progressive Union and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) called for an indefinite strike starting Sunday midnight.As the majority of state transport buses remained off the roads in most parts of the state, the government said it was ready for talks and would take steps to clear the rush. Passengers in Chennai, Tiruchi and Thanjavur, among others complained that they were stranded for hours even as crowds thronged the few available private ones.TN government operates 22,000 buses daily through eight transport corporations including the Metropolitan Transport Corporation in Chennai, with a workforce of 1.4 lakh people, transporting more than 1.5 crore passengers every day.The indefinite strike was called for after talks on various issues, including retirement benefits and certain pending dues with the government failed. “The government should take full responsibility for the indefinite strike that began on Monday. We express our regret for the inconvenience caused to the general public,” a joint statement issued by the leaders of 10 trade unions said.The unions said that the transport corporations have spent about Rs 7,000 crore – the money deducted from the salaries of the workers for the employment provident fund, LIC premium and loans taken from the societies. “The corporations have failed to pay Rs 1,700 crore arrears to 13,000 retired workers for the past many years. We are also demanding the government to start wage revision negotiations and are also seeking a package to rehabilitate the debt-ridden corporation. The unions had given a strike notice in February 2017, pressing these very issues,” A Soundararajan, state president, CITU said.However, Transport Minister MR Vijayabaskar was keen to dismiss the strike rather than fulfilling the demands of the workers. He demanded the government to invite the unions for talks to settle the issues amicably.Vijayabaskar also said that 37 unions were in support of the government. Ten other unions, including those headed by the DMK and the Left, have participated in the strike. “Efforts are on to operate the buses in full strength.2,000 private vehicles will be operating in Chennai to clear the rush,” he told the reporters.Police protection was being given to buses plying on the roads, he said, adding that the government was ready to hold talks to break the logjam if the unions came forward for discussions. The government was also mulling deploying retired personnel and private drivers to operate buses, officials said.Following the state government’s request, Southern Railway has announced operating inter-city services between Chennai and other destinations. It has also increased the number of services on various suburban routes in and around Chennai.

Alwar lynching: Protest in Delhi seeking ban on cow vigilantes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Several student groups and rights organisations today staged a dharna outside the Bikaner House here, demanding a ban on cow vigilantes across the country and justice to the family members of 55-year-old dairy farmer Pehlu Khan who was lynched in Rajasthan. Khan had died on April 3 after he was lynched by cow vigilantes in Alwar in Rajasthan. At the protest, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Mohit Kumar Pandey said the number of such incidents had gone up and it showed how minorities were being targeted. “The government with the highest mandate is silent on such incidents, further marginalising minorities in the country,” he said, attacking the Modi government. The protesters also submitted a memorandum to the resident commissioner of Rajasthan. “Immediate arrest of all those named in the FIR, compensation of Rs one crore for Pehlu Khan’s family, Rs 25 lakh for Azmat Khan and Rs 10 lakh for Rafiq Khan, who were injured, should be paid immediately,” said the memorandum. They also demanded a ban on cow vigilante groups across the country. Kavita Krishnan of the All India Progressive Women’s Association claimed that police and other security forces had requested her not to hold the dharna. “But I asked them why were they stopping us from holding a peaceful protest and not stopping cow vigilantes?” she said. Protesters who met the resident commissioner said the officer had assured quick action. Members of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, All India Kisan Sabha, All India Students Association and the Democratic Youth Federation of India also took part in the protest.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Manipur CM appeals to militants to join mainstream

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh today appealed to all militants to join the mainstream. The Chief Minister made the appeal at a function where top belonging to banned People s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak-Progressive (PREPAK-Pro) surrendered before him here. “I am very happy that two militants have surrendered to join the mainstream. I appeal to all local militants to join the mainstream. I also appeal to those youths who have fled their homes to join militancy to return to mainstream, Singh said. The two militants – self-styled ‘Sergeant Major’ Salam Sitoljit (28) a resident of Uripok Khumanthem Leikai and self-styled ‘Corporal’ Pebam Bishorjit (24) a resident of Kiyamgei Awang Leikai surrendered before the chief minister, a state government press release said. The two militants surrendered after escaping from their Myanmar camp, officials said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Digvijay’s ‘BJP-ISIS’ comment serious threat to nation’s unity, says Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A day after Congress leader Digvijay Singh raked in controversy attributing the stronghold of ISIS to “radicalisation” by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saffron party leader M. Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday expressed shock, citing the former’s comment is a bigger threat to the unity and integrity of our country that that of even ISIS. “It is shocking that senior Congress leader and former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh for 10 years, Shri Digvijay Singh has come out in the open justifying ISIS operations in the country. For him to say that ISIS is targetting our country due to lack of justice to Muslims is a more serious threat to the unity and integrity of our country than that of even ISIS,” Naidu said. “ISIS terror operations are more in Muslim countries as everyone knows. Does it mean that there is no justice and lack of confidence among Muslims in those Muslim-dominated countries? During the Congress and the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) rule, Pakistan-based terror outfits carried out attacks in our country on several occasions. What does it mean ? Were they also spurred by injustice to muslims in our country?” he questioned. Naidu asserted that the Congress leader launched a condemnable attack on the great legacy of India, unmindful of the great tradition that have been followed in the country for long. “Digvijay Singh made a frontal attack by his irresponsible comments on such sacred traditions of our country that allow religious freedom. Coming from a person with experience in public life is a matter of deep anguish and concern,” he said. Further, he asked Singh and the Congress to issue an apology, citing the people would consider the grand old party on the same page as one of its senior leaders. “The countrymen would treat Shri Digvijay Singh?s views and his justification of ISIS terror designs in our country as that of the Congress unless it retracts the statement. I demand from the Congress party an apology for the reprehensible comments of Shri Digvijay Singh,” he said. “Shri Digvijay Singh’s comments are an insult to minorities and he must apologise for the same and for trying to perpetuate and promote a sense of fear among minorities,” he added. Earlier, while commenting on the Lucknow terror stand-off in which two terrorists were holed up inside a residential building, Digvijay Singh told a TV Channel that the incident was “a wake-up call for the government not to alienate the Muslims when it comes to providing equal rights and opportunity,” adding, “people will get attracted to ISIS and Pakistan if equal opportunity is not given.” Security forces had gunned down a terrorist early on Wednesday morning in an operation that lasted for nearly 10 hours in the thickly-populated Thakurganj area of Lucknow.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Manipur’s Loktak lake project could be a drawback for Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The picturesque Loktak lake, populated with small floating islands, and with the Keibul Lamjao wildlife sanctuary, is one of Manipur’s most identifiable tourist spots. Yet, this poll season, its at the centre of a storm that has come to haunt the ruling Congress government.The Congress government had taken up a project in 2009 to clear some of the phumdis — bodies of biodegradable mass that float along the lake. The project was awarded to a company called KPro, a subsidiary of Progressive Construction, a Hyderabad-based firm. Under the project, the company was to clear over 132 lakh cubic metres of the 236 square kilometre wetland.A total of Rs 400 crore was eventually sanctioned for the project. While Rs 244 crore was to be used for the phumdi clearance, the remaining Rs 176 crore was to be used for developing waterways, bringing in motor boats and jetties, a floating dispensary and a livelihood package for the displaced fisherman, etc.The BJP has, however, in its ‘charge sheet’, alleged that the Congress government has embezzled the funds meant for the project. In September last year, BJP MP Prahlad Singh Patel had also written to the Centre for an inquiry into the alleged scam, following which the Central Vigilance Commission forwarded the complaint to the Union cabinet secretariat.Yet, poll skirmishes aside, for the 333 odd houses of the fishermen who live in the phumdis, hope hinges on the upcoming elections. The Loktak Development Authority, as part of its clearance scheme razed down over 777 houses located on the phumdis. Rs 40,000 was given to some families as compensation.For the traditional fishermen who have been fishing on the wetlands for hundreds of years using the athafun method, the problems started with the building of the NHPC’s hydro-electric dam in 1983, submerging over 83,450 hectares of traditional grazing land.”The Loktak Lake Act, 2008, then came in, which said that no fishing equipment can be used to fish in the protected areas of the lake. This has left the fishermen without their prime source of livelihood,” said Oinam Rajen, president of the All Loktak Lake Fishermen Union Manipur (ALLAFUM).Rajen says that razing down people’s houses is unheard of, and it happens only in Manipur. In 2012, ALLAFUM filed a PIL in the Manipur Bench of the Gauhati High Court, against the razing of the houses. During the hearing, the government gave two different numbers — it first said that all 1,147 houses were razed down, but when ALLAFUN showed evidence of existing houses, the government said that 777 houses were razed. The court has now put a stay order on both construction of new houses by fishermen, and the eviction by the government. Rajen, however, alleges that in contempt of court two eviction drives have happened since.Namdithiu Pamei, of Center for Organisation Research and Education (CORE) Manipur, says that an ecological disaster is in the making. “Now, they have to resort to man-made methods to clear phumdis. A lot of indigenous natural resources like snails, herbs, vegetables, fish are now endangered in the site. Loktak fish was popular initially, and were sent to Nagaland. Now Manipur imports fish from Andhra Pradesh. Migratory birds have stopped coming because of scarcity of fish,” he says.

Greedy party members switched loyalties ahead of polls:Kishore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With over a dozen prominent faces of Congress in Uttarakhand switching sides to BJP since last year, state Congress chief Kishore Upadhyay said those who have joined the saffron party ahead of polls were “greedy”, describing them as “Bhasmasur” who would burn themselves as well the party they have joined. On reports of differences with Chief Minister Harish Rawat over some of the seat allotments as well as on formation of alliance with Progressive Democratic Front (PDF), the party state president said he and Rawat are like a pair of bulls who are working together to plough the field for Congress. He also claimed that Congress will form the government with two-thirds majority in the 70-seat Uttarakhand Assembly that goes to poll on February 15. “Those people who were greedy went to BJP. As many as 13 people have switched sides, it will not affect the Congress but will have a negative impact on BJP which has no (chief ministerial) face and people will decide in our favour. “Those who have switched sides have never served the party. They could not digest as they got more than what they deserved. They have become Bhasmasur for themselves as well as for the party they have joined. I don’t think they will get acceptance in Uttarakhand politics,” Upadhyay told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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