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MHA claims it has no data on Assam Detention Camp inmates!

Oddly enough the data had been regularly made available in multiple submissions before the Assam state assembly, and the fact that the same data was provided in the winter session of November 2019

21 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:eastmojo.com

In yet another shocking addition to the "no data" stand of the government, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), on September 20, claimed that it has not maintained data Centrally on the number of cases of doubtful voters pending with Foreigners Tribunals in Assam, as well as the number of people declared foreigners. This was in response to a question raised by Prof. Saugata Ray of TMC in the Parliament.

However, the MHA furnished the following numbers; there are 83,008 cases of doubtful voters pending with the tribunals in Assam. Number of people declared as foreigners in Assam from the year 2015 to June 30, 2020 are 86,756, as per data given to the MHA by the Assam government.

Prof Ray also sought data on the number of detention centres and the number of foreign nationals detained currently in detention centres. The trend in this Monsoon Session seems to be “this data is not centrally maintained” even if such data has been provided in the past. As a matter of fact, the MHA has provided information on the number of detention centres and detainees in the winter session of 2019 and was presented as data submitted by the Assam government. Since such information has been provided in the past by the same government, one wonders why such data would be kept hidden this time around?

Last November, MHA had stated that there are 988 detainees in detention camps in Assam as on November 22 and had even provided details on the number of deaths in detention camps in 3 years which was 28 deaths from 2016 until October 13, 2019. It is noteworthy that many detainees were let out on bail following two orders of the Supreme Court. In May last year the SC had permitted the release of inmates who had completed three years behind bars on conditional bail. In wake of the outbreak of Covid-19, the SC directed that the mandatory tenure be reduced to two years.

Thus, when similar information was sought by MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi in the Assam State Assembly, Chandra Mohan Patowary who is the Cabinet Minister of Transport, Industry & Commerce, Parliamentary Affairs and SEED, submitted on behalf of the Government of Assam that there were 425 inmates in six detention camps in the state.

Now, why is it that the MHA does not have this information that is already in the public domain courtesy an official submission before the state assembly?

The parliamentary response may be read here.

Related:

28 deaths in detention camps, detainees down from 1043 to 988 in 9 days: Assam
Assam Detention Camps: 32 people released, here's how CJP did it
Could ten new detention camps come up in Assam?

MHA claims it has no data on Assam Detention Camp inmates!

Oddly enough the data had been regularly made available in multiple submissions before the Assam state assembly, and the fact that the same data was provided in the winter session of November 2019

Image Courtesy:eastmojo.com

In yet another shocking addition to the "no data" stand of the government, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), on September 20, claimed that it has not maintained data Centrally on the number of cases of doubtful voters pending with Foreigners Tribunals in Assam, as well as the number of people declared foreigners. This was in response to a question raised by Prof. Saugata Ray of TMC in the Parliament.

However, the MHA furnished the following numbers; there are 83,008 cases of doubtful voters pending with the tribunals in Assam. Number of people declared as foreigners in Assam from the year 2015 to June 30, 2020 are 86,756, as per data given to the MHA by the Assam government.

Prof Ray also sought data on the number of detention centres and the number of foreign nationals detained currently in detention centres. The trend in this Monsoon Session seems to be “this data is not centrally maintained” even if such data has been provided in the past. As a matter of fact, the MHA has provided information on the number of detention centres and detainees in the winter session of 2019 and was presented as data submitted by the Assam government. Since such information has been provided in the past by the same government, one wonders why such data would be kept hidden this time around?

Last November, MHA had stated that there are 988 detainees in detention camps in Assam as on November 22 and had even provided details on the number of deaths in detention camps in 3 years which was 28 deaths from 2016 until October 13, 2019. It is noteworthy that many detainees were let out on bail following two orders of the Supreme Court. In May last year the SC had permitted the release of inmates who had completed three years behind bars on conditional bail. In wake of the outbreak of Covid-19, the SC directed that the mandatory tenure be reduced to two years.

Thus, when similar information was sought by MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi in the Assam State Assembly, Chandra Mohan Patowary who is the Cabinet Minister of Transport, Industry & Commerce, Parliamentary Affairs and SEED, submitted on behalf of the Government of Assam that there were 425 inmates in six detention camps in the state.

Now, why is it that the MHA does not have this information that is already in the public domain courtesy an official submission before the state assembly?

The parliamentary response may be read here.

Related:

28 deaths in detention camps, detainees down from 1043 to 988 in 9 days: Assam
Assam Detention Camps: 32 people released, here's how CJP did it
Could ten new detention camps come up in Assam?

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Freedom Park: Where the marginalised unite

1,500 to 2,000 farmers protested on the streets of Bengaluru against the three agriculture Bills introduced by the government.

21 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

Nearly 2,000 farmers assembled at the Freedom Park in Bengaluru, Karnataka on September 21 to protest the recent government changes made in agrarian policies both at the Central and state level.

Farmer protests against the three agriculture Bills that were originally thought to be limited to Haryana and Punjab, have now taken place in Southern cities of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as well.

On Monday, farmers from all over Karnataka arrived at the Bengaluru city railway station and then rallied towards the city park roughly half a kilometre away.

https://www.facebook.com/pratiba.raman/posts/3880244295326151

The three Bills refer to the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill. On September 20, these legislations had been passed in the Upper House of the Parliament without the required number of votes.

Leaders such as Yogendra Yadav from Swaraj India, and Ashok Dhavale from the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) also attended the Bengaluru event and spoke about the three Bills along with the Weaving Community Forces Land Acquisition Act that dealt specifically with Karnataka.

Member of Swaraj India, Zia Nomani told SabrangIndia that the city saw a wonderful combination of Green (Farmers’ colour) Blue (Dalits’ colour) and Red (Workers’ colour) as people from across Karnataka came to show solidarity with farmers. Women walked barefoot while some men chanted slogans bare-chested.

 

 

Nomani said that along with Yadav and Dhavale, 103-year-old freedom fighter H. S. Doreswamy also attended the event and spoke about how these policies threaten to kill farmers’ rights.

On Sunday, huge protests had taken place in Haryana wherein roads had been blocked. Members of the ruling-party's coalition had joined these protests in solidarity.

A similar protest also took place in Uttar Pradesh. Meanwhile, Rajasthan prepared for the nation-wide protests planned for September 25 to demonstrate farmers’ continuing agitation against the agriculture policies.

Related:

Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation, a public warning from Punjab farmers?
We stand in solidarity: Trade Unions oppose Centre's anti-people laws
Agricultural Bills passed sans votes! Nation-wide, farmers rise in anger, Oppn United
Two JJP MLAs join farmers' protests in Haryana, defying their own party assurances

Freedom Park: Where the marginalised unite

1,500 to 2,000 farmers protested on the streets of Bengaluru against the three agriculture Bills introduced by the government.

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

Nearly 2,000 farmers assembled at the Freedom Park in Bengaluru, Karnataka on September 21 to protest the recent government changes made in agrarian policies both at the Central and state level.

Farmer protests against the three agriculture Bills that were originally thought to be limited to Haryana and Punjab, have now taken place in Southern cities of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as well.

On Monday, farmers from all over Karnataka arrived at the Bengaluru city railway station and then rallied towards the city park roughly half a kilometre away.

https://www.facebook.com/pratiba.raman/posts/3880244295326151

The three Bills refer to the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill. On September 20, these legislations had been passed in the Upper House of the Parliament without the required number of votes.

Leaders such as Yogendra Yadav from Swaraj India, and Ashok Dhavale from the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) also attended the Bengaluru event and spoke about the three Bills along with the Weaving Community Forces Land Acquisition Act that dealt specifically with Karnataka.

Member of Swaraj India, Zia Nomani told SabrangIndia that the city saw a wonderful combination of Green (Farmers’ colour) Blue (Dalits’ colour) and Red (Workers’ colour) as people from across Karnataka came to show solidarity with farmers. Women walked barefoot while some men chanted slogans bare-chested.

 

 

Nomani said that along with Yadav and Dhavale, 103-year-old freedom fighter H. S. Doreswamy also attended the event and spoke about how these policies threaten to kill farmers’ rights.

On Sunday, huge protests had taken place in Haryana wherein roads had been blocked. Members of the ruling-party's coalition had joined these protests in solidarity.

A similar protest also took place in Uttar Pradesh. Meanwhile, Rajasthan prepared for the nation-wide protests planned for September 25 to demonstrate farmers’ continuing agitation against the agriculture policies.

Related:

Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation, a public warning from Punjab farmers?
We stand in solidarity: Trade Unions oppose Centre's anti-people laws
Agricultural Bills passed sans votes! Nation-wide, farmers rise in anger, Oppn United
Two JJP MLAs join farmers' protests in Haryana, defying their own party assurances

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Farm Bills promote corporate hoarding and black marketing: Vijoo Krishnan

Sabrangindia 21 Sep 2020

Journalist and Activist Teesta Setalvad in conversation with All India Joint Secretary, AIKS and peasant leader Vijoo Krishnan on the three Farm Bills (2020) and whether they mock the Parliament and destroy Farmers.

Farm Bills promote corporate hoarding and black marketing: Vijoo Krishnan

Journalist and Activist Teesta Setalvad in conversation with All India Joint Secretary, AIKS and peasant leader Vijoo Krishnan on the three Farm Bills (2020) and whether they mock the Parliament and destroy Farmers.

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Two JJP MLAs join farmers' protests in Haryana, defying their own party assurances

Farmer Bills breaking up BJP-led coalitions?

21 Sep 2020


Image Courtesy:indiatoday.in

Two MLAs who are part of the BJP-led ruling coalition in Haryana participated in farmers' protests on September 20 that condemned the Centre's agriculture Bills passed by Parliament, reproted Indian Express.

This decision of the Jannayak Janata Party's (JJP) Jogi Ram Sihag and Ram Karan Kala was at odds with their party leader’s statement that accused the Congress of misleading farmers. Yet Sihag and Kala attended the farmers’ road blockade protests organised by the Bharatiya Kisan Union and other farmer outfits at Barwala in Hisar and Shahabad in Kurukshetra respectively.

Sihag said he would resign if his constituents including many farmers feel their interests have been compromised. He also said that the farm reforms will only result in big corporates exploiting farmers. Similarly, Kala said he participated in the protest because he felt farmers' voices should be heard.

Meanwhile, Haryana Deputy Chief Minister and JJP leader Dushyant Chautala asserted that there is no question of abolishing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism in either of the three farmers Bills. The three legislations in question are the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill.

The great-grandson of late Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal said that he came from a farmer’s family and would do anything to ensure farmers’ welfare. He also said he would quit his post if farmers do not get the MSP for their crops. Instead, Chautala said the new reforms would allow them to sell their crops even outside local markets if they receive higher rates.

Asserting that the MSP mechanism will be there to stay, Chautala said the Centre’s farm reforms will open new avenues of progress. Chief Minister ML Khattar too called the passing of the three Bills a "historic occasion."

Haryana Agriculture Minister J P Dalal asserted that the farm reforms will play an important role in fulfilling Prime Minister Narendra Modi's aim of doubling the farmers' income by 2022. He said that some politicians had become used to petty politics and failed to properly read the Bills before issuing their statements.

 

Related:

Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation, a public warning from Punjab farmers?
Agricultural Bills passed sans votes! Nation-wide, farmers rise in anger, Oppn United
The end of Parliament Democracy: Farmers’ Unions decry passage of Agri Bills in RS
We stand in solidarity: Trade Unions oppose Centre's anti-people laws

Two JJP MLAs join farmers' protests in Haryana, defying their own party assurances

Farmer Bills breaking up BJP-led coalitions?


Image Courtesy:indiatoday.in

Two MLAs who are part of the BJP-led ruling coalition in Haryana participated in farmers' protests on September 20 that condemned the Centre's agriculture Bills passed by Parliament, reproted Indian Express.

This decision of the Jannayak Janata Party's (JJP) Jogi Ram Sihag and Ram Karan Kala was at odds with their party leader’s statement that accused the Congress of misleading farmers. Yet Sihag and Kala attended the farmers’ road blockade protests organised by the Bharatiya Kisan Union and other farmer outfits at Barwala in Hisar and Shahabad in Kurukshetra respectively.

Sihag said he would resign if his constituents including many farmers feel their interests have been compromised. He also said that the farm reforms will only result in big corporates exploiting farmers. Similarly, Kala said he participated in the protest because he felt farmers' voices should be heard.

Meanwhile, Haryana Deputy Chief Minister and JJP leader Dushyant Chautala asserted that there is no question of abolishing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism in either of the three farmers Bills. The three legislations in question are the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill.

The great-grandson of late Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal said that he came from a farmer’s family and would do anything to ensure farmers’ welfare. He also said he would quit his post if farmers do not get the MSP for their crops. Instead, Chautala said the new reforms would allow them to sell their crops even outside local markets if they receive higher rates.

Asserting that the MSP mechanism will be there to stay, Chautala said the Centre’s farm reforms will open new avenues of progress. Chief Minister ML Khattar too called the passing of the three Bills a "historic occasion."

Haryana Agriculture Minister J P Dalal asserted that the farm reforms will play an important role in fulfilling Prime Minister Narendra Modi's aim of doubling the farmers' income by 2022. He said that some politicians had become used to petty politics and failed to properly read the Bills before issuing their statements.

 

Related:

Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation, a public warning from Punjab farmers?
Agricultural Bills passed sans votes! Nation-wide, farmers rise in anger, Oppn United
The end of Parliament Democracy: Farmers’ Unions decry passage of Agri Bills in RS
We stand in solidarity: Trade Unions oppose Centre's anti-people laws

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Police have found no incriminating evidence on Rajeev Sharma: Lawyer

Journalist Rajeev Sharma, arrested by the Delhi police under Official Secrets Act, did not have any ‘classified documents’, his lawyer told the court

21 Sep 2020

Journalist Rajeev Sharma, arrested by the Delhi police
 

The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate'sCourt in Delhi has reportedly extended the police custody of freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma, arrested in an espionage case under the Official Secrets Act. The court also extended the custody of two other accused; a Chinese national, and the Nepalese man by seven days. 

Rajeev Sharma, a senior freelance journalist was arrested by the Delhi police under the Official Secrets Act, on September 14. The other two, Chinese citizen Qing Shi and Nepalese national Sher Singh alias Raj Bohra were arrested in Delhi on Friday. The police have alleged that they are accused of paying Sharma “large amounts of money routed through shell companies”, as reported by multiple news media.

Delhi Police Special Cell is also reported as saying that Rajeev Sharma was "found to be in possession of some defence-related classified documents". However, senior advocate Adish Aggarwala, who is representing the Journalist Rajeev Sharma, told the court that the latter did not possess any ‘classified documents’, reported The Hindu. Sharma’s lawyer told the court that while it was fact that the journalist worked for a Chinese news organisation, the Delhi Police’s claim that they have found “incriminating evidence”, in his possession “is not true”. The Hindu reported that police seized his mobile, laptop and a “draft copy of his book on the Home Minister of India” during the raid at his house, said his lawyer. 

Sharma was arrested at around 10.30 P.M on September 14, when he was out driving, and a police team raided his house in Pitampura, Delhi at 3 A.M on September 15. It is reported that the police seized Sharma’s mobile, laptop, passport, I-T files, LIC policies, and a draft copy of a book on the Home Minister, during the raid. His lawyer has questioned if the “police have found the ‘classified document’ from his possession on the day one and then why did they wait four days to make the public,” reported the Hindu. He added that the Delhi police in a press conference had clearly stated that they won’t be questioning defence personnel over the leak of classified documents. Aggarwala said Sharma must have “got the documents from someone,” as it was not “not printed” at his home.

The news report states that according to his lawyer, Sharma represented Global Times, where he worked for from 2014-16 and was paid. As a journalist he had been invited to China by the newspaper. “A lot of people from China are working here and several Indians are working there. There’s nothing wrong in that,” Aggarwala is quoted in the news report.

Another dimension and question on Sharma’s arrest has been raised by a report in The Telegraph. ‘Was the national security adviser not aware of freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma's alleged illegal activities?’, it asks. 

According to senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, who had interviewed Sharma in November last year, and spoke to The Telegraph, “Sharma knew Ajit Doval (national security adviser) very well and the accredited journalist was very open about it. The logical question to be asked now: was the NSA not aware of his alleged illegal activities?” 

The question has wide national security implications, as pointed in the report, because Delhi Police have claimed that Sharma received cash from a Kunming-based Chinese handler, “George”, from January 2019 till September 2020 for information allegedly provided by the journalist.

The Telegraph explains that if the charges are true, it would mean that classified information was being leaked from the government even at the height of the current border crisis in eastern Ladakh. According to the report, Sharma was also one of those who had said their “phone was under surveillance through an invasive Israeli-developed spyware called Pegasus.” The Centre had denied it had anything to with the purported surveillance. The police alleged that Sharma received “Rs 30 lakh in 10 instalments from his Chinese handler between January 2019 and September 2020 and had meetings with the handler in Malaysia and Kunming City (in China).” 

The arrests also gave an opportunity to the opposition to connect the dots between Sharma and Doval. Prashant Pratap Singh, Congress national media coordinator, posted  a video clip from Sharma’s interview where he is introduced as one who “has worked with NSA Doval in the Vivekananda International Foundation for some time”.

 

 

In his interview, Thakurta had introduced Sharma as someone who had once worked with Doval in the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF). The VIF was set up in 2009 with Doval as its founding director. The VIF, which describes itself as an “independent, non-partisan institution”, is a project of the Vivekananda Kendra, founded in the early 1970s by former RSS general secretary Eknath Ranade, stated the Telegraph, adding that with its office in Chanakyapuri, the diplomatic hub of the capital, VIF’s website lists its “relationships” with multiple Chinese institutions/ think tanks that deal with strategic studies.

If Sharma did pass on classified defence information, the question how he had accessed such intelligence has not yet yielded any convincing answer, stated the Telegraph, though many other news reports based on ‘sources’ in Delhi police state that Sharma accessed the information by giving the impression that he was collecting the data for his work as a journalist.

It is known that Sharma is an accredited journalist, covering beats including foreign affairs, security and defence. The accreditation he holds is issued by the government’s Press Information Bureau which has layers of security checks and verifications, that have to be cleared beforehand, including police clearances. 

Meanwhile, the Press Club of India, which has issued a statement in solidarity with Rajeev Sharma, “a well-known independent journalist of long standing and a member of the Press Club of India.” The PCI issued the statement “on account of the dubious track record of the Special Branch,” and said that they “have no hesitation in saying that the police action are high-handed, and may be inspired by obscure or questionable considerations.”

They drew parallels with the 2002, arrest of Iftikhar Gilani, a senior journalist then with Kashmir Times, who was charged with “tracking the Army's movements in Kashmir”. He was incarcerated in Tihar jail for seven months, and “eventually, it was the Army's intelligence that gave the lie to the bogus police case and Gilani had to be released.” Another Delhi journalist, who wrote for Iran's official news agency, was also arrested for playing in the hands of the Iranian secret service some years ago. “Eventually it became clear that the whole case was bogus and the journalist was freed,” stated the PCI, adding that “of late, Delhi Police, including its Special Branch, have made preposterous arrests under the lawless law called UAPA in which the word of the government is enough to keep an innocent person behind bars for long periods. These have happened in matters relating to anti-CAA protests and the carefully designed communal killings in the so-called February 2020 riots in northeast Delhi.”

Related

Delhi-based Journalist Prashant Kanojia arrested by UP police for “some tweets”
BBC journalist illegally detained in UP, HRDA writes to NHRC
Journalists are not terrorists, journalism is not a crime
Journalism is a hazardous profession in Uttar Pradesh
Bring Official Secrets Act in Line with Constitution:SC Admits Petition by Journo

Police have found no incriminating evidence on Rajeev Sharma: Lawyer

Journalist Rajeev Sharma, arrested by the Delhi police under Official Secrets Act, did not have any ‘classified documents’, his lawyer told the court

Journalist Rajeev Sharma, arrested by the Delhi police
 

The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate'sCourt in Delhi has reportedly extended the police custody of freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma, arrested in an espionage case under the Official Secrets Act. The court also extended the custody of two other accused; a Chinese national, and the Nepalese man by seven days. 

Rajeev Sharma, a senior freelance journalist was arrested by the Delhi police under the Official Secrets Act, on September 14. The other two, Chinese citizen Qing Shi and Nepalese national Sher Singh alias Raj Bohra were arrested in Delhi on Friday. The police have alleged that they are accused of paying Sharma “large amounts of money routed through shell companies”, as reported by multiple news media.

Delhi Police Special Cell is also reported as saying that Rajeev Sharma was "found to be in possession of some defence-related classified documents". However, senior advocate Adish Aggarwala, who is representing the Journalist Rajeev Sharma, told the court that the latter did not possess any ‘classified documents’, reported The Hindu. Sharma’s lawyer told the court that while it was fact that the journalist worked for a Chinese news organisation, the Delhi Police’s claim that they have found “incriminating evidence”, in his possession “is not true”. The Hindu reported that police seized his mobile, laptop and a “draft copy of his book on the Home Minister of India” during the raid at his house, said his lawyer. 

Sharma was arrested at around 10.30 P.M on September 14, when he was out driving, and a police team raided his house in Pitampura, Delhi at 3 A.M on September 15. It is reported that the police seized Sharma’s mobile, laptop, passport, I-T files, LIC policies, and a draft copy of a book on the Home Minister, during the raid. His lawyer has questioned if the “police have found the ‘classified document’ from his possession on the day one and then why did they wait four days to make the public,” reported the Hindu. He added that the Delhi police in a press conference had clearly stated that they won’t be questioning defence personnel over the leak of classified documents. Aggarwala said Sharma must have “got the documents from someone,” as it was not “not printed” at his home.

The news report states that according to his lawyer, Sharma represented Global Times, where he worked for from 2014-16 and was paid. As a journalist he had been invited to China by the newspaper. “A lot of people from China are working here and several Indians are working there. There’s nothing wrong in that,” Aggarwala is quoted in the news report.

Another dimension and question on Sharma’s arrest has been raised by a report in The Telegraph. ‘Was the national security adviser not aware of freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma's alleged illegal activities?’, it asks. 

According to senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, who had interviewed Sharma in November last year, and spoke to The Telegraph, “Sharma knew Ajit Doval (national security adviser) very well and the accredited journalist was very open about it. The logical question to be asked now: was the NSA not aware of his alleged illegal activities?” 

The question has wide national security implications, as pointed in the report, because Delhi Police have claimed that Sharma received cash from a Kunming-based Chinese handler, “George”, from January 2019 till September 2020 for information allegedly provided by the journalist.

The Telegraph explains that if the charges are true, it would mean that classified information was being leaked from the government even at the height of the current border crisis in eastern Ladakh. According to the report, Sharma was also one of those who had said their “phone was under surveillance through an invasive Israeli-developed spyware called Pegasus.” The Centre had denied it had anything to with the purported surveillance. The police alleged that Sharma received “Rs 30 lakh in 10 instalments from his Chinese handler between January 2019 and September 2020 and had meetings with the handler in Malaysia and Kunming City (in China).” 

The arrests also gave an opportunity to the opposition to connect the dots between Sharma and Doval. Prashant Pratap Singh, Congress national media coordinator, posted  a video clip from Sharma’s interview where he is introduced as one who “has worked with NSA Doval in the Vivekananda International Foundation for some time”.

 

 

In his interview, Thakurta had introduced Sharma as someone who had once worked with Doval in the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF). The VIF was set up in 2009 with Doval as its founding director. The VIF, which describes itself as an “independent, non-partisan institution”, is a project of the Vivekananda Kendra, founded in the early 1970s by former RSS general secretary Eknath Ranade, stated the Telegraph, adding that with its office in Chanakyapuri, the diplomatic hub of the capital, VIF’s website lists its “relationships” with multiple Chinese institutions/ think tanks that deal with strategic studies.

If Sharma did pass on classified defence information, the question how he had accessed such intelligence has not yet yielded any convincing answer, stated the Telegraph, though many other news reports based on ‘sources’ in Delhi police state that Sharma accessed the information by giving the impression that he was collecting the data for his work as a journalist.

It is known that Sharma is an accredited journalist, covering beats including foreign affairs, security and defence. The accreditation he holds is issued by the government’s Press Information Bureau which has layers of security checks and verifications, that have to be cleared beforehand, including police clearances. 

Meanwhile, the Press Club of India, which has issued a statement in solidarity with Rajeev Sharma, “a well-known independent journalist of long standing and a member of the Press Club of India.” The PCI issued the statement “on account of the dubious track record of the Special Branch,” and said that they “have no hesitation in saying that the police action are high-handed, and may be inspired by obscure or questionable considerations.”

They drew parallels with the 2002, arrest of Iftikhar Gilani, a senior journalist then with Kashmir Times, who was charged with “tracking the Army's movements in Kashmir”. He was incarcerated in Tihar jail for seven months, and “eventually, it was the Army's intelligence that gave the lie to the bogus police case and Gilani had to be released.” Another Delhi journalist, who wrote for Iran's official news agency, was also arrested for playing in the hands of the Iranian secret service some years ago. “Eventually it became clear that the whole case was bogus and the journalist was freed,” stated the PCI, adding that “of late, Delhi Police, including its Special Branch, have made preposterous arrests under the lawless law called UAPA in which the word of the government is enough to keep an innocent person behind bars for long periods. These have happened in matters relating to anti-CAA protests and the carefully designed communal killings in the so-called February 2020 riots in northeast Delhi.”

Related

Delhi-based Journalist Prashant Kanojia arrested by UP police for “some tweets”
BBC journalist illegally detained in UP, HRDA writes to NHRC
Journalists are not terrorists, journalism is not a crime
Journalism is a hazardous profession in Uttar Pradesh
Bring Official Secrets Act in Line with Constitution:SC Admits Petition by Journo

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We stand in solidarity: Trade Unions oppose Centre's anti-people laws

Denouncing anti-worker laws, National Trade Unions call for a protest on September 23 to address their demands.

21 Sep 2020

The Central Trade Unions of India called for a pan-India protest on September 23 to denounce the anti-workers policies that could allegedly strengthen and enhance the contract system.

As per an announcement by the New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI), Trade Unions such as AICCTU, IFTU, NTUI, TUCI among others intend to organise huge protests to make the following demands:

·       Withdrawal of anti-worker labour codes from Parliament.

·       A fair minimum wage for all workers.

·       Cash transfer of Rs 10,000 to those pushed out of work or unable to work due to Covid-19.

·       Payment of full wages sans cuts to all workers during lockdown period.

·       Stoppage to the contract labour system in all work of a permanent nature.

·       Allotment of at least 5 percent GDP for public health.

·       Provision of Rs. 50 lakhs insurance for each worker working during this period.

·       Full payment of PF to all workers.

·       Pay full DA to all workers and pensioners including government employees.

The Unions claimed that the government is trying to push through the Industrial Relations Code, the Code on Social Security and the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions virtually without debate. It raises the concern that employers will have the facility to hire and fire workers under the name of fixed term contracts. Additionally, the right to unionise will be severely curtailed and many other rights of workers will come under fire.

During Covid-19, many BJP-ruled states have introduced anti-worker measures including 12 hours daily work without overtime and suspension of workers’ rights. Moreover, prior to the lockdown the government had tried to attack the working class by making anti-worker changes in labour laws.

The Unions were also concerned about the privatisation process of the public sector. Oil companies, Ordnance factories, Sections of Indian Railways and Air India are being privatised while public sector banks and insurance companies are being restructured through mergers for privatisation.

“This will not only affect the rights of the workers involved but will also put the security of the nation – including in an economic sense – into jeopardy. All this is happening as the peasantry is being attacked through the three ordinances that Lok Sabha has now passed. We salute the powerful peasant struggle against the anti-farmer, anti-national laws and join them in solidarity,” they said.

In a separate statement, the Unions also declared their support for the countrywide protest and resistance on September 25 against the three agriculture legislations. They said the Ordinance-initiated Bills are aimed at completely restructuring the management of the agricultural economy including farm trade in total favour of the big-landlord corporate nexus.

“Two of these destructive ordinances have already been converted into laws in the ongoing Parliament session. They are patently unconstitutional as they encroach upon State subject, destroying federalism in the process. Hence defiance and resistance with a determination not to allow these destructive measures to be implemented in our agricultural economy is the only way before the people,” they said.

The Unions also alleged that the Centre is pushing its Hindutva agenda, widening the rift between Hindus and Muslims and creating a toxic environment for exploitation of Dalits, Adivasis and other historically discriminated communities.

“The recently announced New Education policy reflects this. So does the laying of the foundation stone for the Ram temple at Ayodhya by the Prime Minister in the beginning of August and the persisting attack against the peoples of Jammu and Kashmir,” they said.

Lastly, they criticised the government for making a mess of the economy. India’s GDP fell by almost 24 percent from April to June, the largest fall by any country in the world and most adversely affected marginalised sections. Moreover, the rate of unemployment was highest in the last 45 years even before the lockdown. 1.89 crores jobs have been lost between April and August-end.

Related:

The end of Parliament Democracy: Farmers’ Unions decry passage of Agri Bills in RS
National Unemployment Day: Youth demand jobs, financial security
Centre’s plan to privatise PSUs an anti-people policy: AITUC
SBI VRS scheme penny-wise and pound-foolish: AIBEA official

 

We stand in solidarity: Trade Unions oppose Centre's anti-people laws

Denouncing anti-worker laws, National Trade Unions call for a protest on September 23 to address their demands.

The Central Trade Unions of India called for a pan-India protest on September 23 to denounce the anti-workers policies that could allegedly strengthen and enhance the contract system.

As per an announcement by the New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI), Trade Unions such as AICCTU, IFTU, NTUI, TUCI among others intend to organise huge protests to make the following demands:

·       Withdrawal of anti-worker labour codes from Parliament.

·       A fair minimum wage for all workers.

·       Cash transfer of Rs 10,000 to those pushed out of work or unable to work due to Covid-19.

·       Payment of full wages sans cuts to all workers during lockdown period.

·       Stoppage to the contract labour system in all work of a permanent nature.

·       Allotment of at least 5 percent GDP for public health.

·       Provision of Rs. 50 lakhs insurance for each worker working during this period.

·       Full payment of PF to all workers.

·       Pay full DA to all workers and pensioners including government employees.

The Unions claimed that the government is trying to push through the Industrial Relations Code, the Code on Social Security and the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions virtually without debate. It raises the concern that employers will have the facility to hire and fire workers under the name of fixed term contracts. Additionally, the right to unionise will be severely curtailed and many other rights of workers will come under fire.

During Covid-19, many BJP-ruled states have introduced anti-worker measures including 12 hours daily work without overtime and suspension of workers’ rights. Moreover, prior to the lockdown the government had tried to attack the working class by making anti-worker changes in labour laws.

The Unions were also concerned about the privatisation process of the public sector. Oil companies, Ordnance factories, Sections of Indian Railways and Air India are being privatised while public sector banks and insurance companies are being restructured through mergers for privatisation.

“This will not only affect the rights of the workers involved but will also put the security of the nation – including in an economic sense – into jeopardy. All this is happening as the peasantry is being attacked through the three ordinances that Lok Sabha has now passed. We salute the powerful peasant struggle against the anti-farmer, anti-national laws and join them in solidarity,” they said.

In a separate statement, the Unions also declared their support for the countrywide protest and resistance on September 25 against the three agriculture legislations. They said the Ordinance-initiated Bills are aimed at completely restructuring the management of the agricultural economy including farm trade in total favour of the big-landlord corporate nexus.

“Two of these destructive ordinances have already been converted into laws in the ongoing Parliament session. They are patently unconstitutional as they encroach upon State subject, destroying federalism in the process. Hence defiance and resistance with a determination not to allow these destructive measures to be implemented in our agricultural economy is the only way before the people,” they said.

The Unions also alleged that the Centre is pushing its Hindutva agenda, widening the rift between Hindus and Muslims and creating a toxic environment for exploitation of Dalits, Adivasis and other historically discriminated communities.

“The recently announced New Education policy reflects this. So does the laying of the foundation stone for the Ram temple at Ayodhya by the Prime Minister in the beginning of August and the persisting attack against the peoples of Jammu and Kashmir,” they said.

Lastly, they criticised the government for making a mess of the economy. India’s GDP fell by almost 24 percent from April to June, the largest fall by any country in the world and most adversely affected marginalised sections. Moreover, the rate of unemployment was highest in the last 45 years even before the lockdown. 1.89 crores jobs have been lost between April and August-end.

Related:

The end of Parliament Democracy: Farmers’ Unions decry passage of Agri Bills in RS
National Unemployment Day: Youth demand jobs, financial security
Centre’s plan to privatise PSUs an anti-people policy: AITUC
SBI VRS scheme penny-wise and pound-foolish: AIBEA official

 

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UP Police arrest suspended colleague for social media post on PM, CM

Vijay Pratap Singh, a 2017-batch officer, was sent to judicial custody, by a local court in Etawah

21 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

A Uttar Pradesh Police sub-inspector (S-I), reportedly under suspension, was arrested for allegedly making derogatory remarks against the Prime Minister as well as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, and also against a particular religion on social media. The cop, identified as Sub-Inspector Vijay Pratap Singh, was arrested on Saturday. According to a report in the Indian Express, the SI is currently under suspension, after cases had been filed at the Civil Lines police station last month.

Singh was sent to judicial custody, by a local court in Etawah, reported IE quoting station house officer (SHO) Civil Lines police station, Jitendra Singh. The report also quoted Additional Superintendent of Police, Etawah, Ram Yash Singh who said “a departmental inquiry against Vijay Pratap Singh was pending” and that a notice has been issued to him.

According to the report, police said that some local residents had filed complaints against Vijay Pratap accusing him of making derogatory remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and UP Chief Minister Adityanath on social media. Singh also allegedly made derogatory remarks, the state government and also a particular religion on. Two cases were filed against him. “In all, five cases have been filed against Vijay Pratap in Etawah,” Jitendra Singh told the media.

The SI has had previous actions taken against him, stated the IE report. In March this year, police booked Vijay Pratap and three others for allegedly damaging a religious structure at a village in Sahso police station area in Etawah. Vijay Pratap was deployed in the village to ensure that local residents follow the lockdown norms. Police said Vijay Pratap allegedly told people to gather at a spot in the village and instigated them to damage a religious structure, reported IE. In July, a case was filed after Vijay Pratap allegedly got into a scuffle with a lawyer at court campus, said police. A case was filed at Civil Lines police station. 

According to news reports the SI had earlier been ‘warned’ for posting ‘derogatory comments against the PM, and the CM,’ on social media. Uttar Pradesh police seem to be paying special attention to social media posts, and are acting against anyone they feel is commenting unfavourably on the UP government.

Recently, the Uttar Pradesh Police had arrested Delhi-based journalist Prashant Kanojia, for the second time this year, allegedly over his social media posts. He was arrested on Tuesday, August 18, from his south Delhi residence and taken to the local police station. Kanojia will reportedly be taken to Lucknow for further investigation “in connection with some tweets”. According to his wife as they arrested Prashant UP police said, ‘Tweet ka mamla hai.’ When I asked them which tweet are they talking about, they said, ‘Bohot tweet kiye hain tumney, upar se orders aaye hain humein, follow toh karna padega’.”  (Translation: It's about tweets, you have tweeted a lot, the orders have come from above, we have to follow them.) 

Kanojia had been locked up in jail for a month now.

Related: 

BJP government under Adityanath is torturing the people in UP: Sanjay Singh 
No warrant, no due process: UP's 'Special Force' to bend all rules!
Heer Khan arrested by UP police for posting abusive anti-Hindu video 
BJP IT cell has gone rogue: Subramanian Swamy
Delhi-based Journalist Prashant Kanojia arrested by UP police for “some tweets”

UP Police arrest suspended colleague for social media post on PM, CM

Vijay Pratap Singh, a 2017-batch officer, was sent to judicial custody, by a local court in Etawah

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

A Uttar Pradesh Police sub-inspector (S-I), reportedly under suspension, was arrested for allegedly making derogatory remarks against the Prime Minister as well as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, and also against a particular religion on social media. The cop, identified as Sub-Inspector Vijay Pratap Singh, was arrested on Saturday. According to a report in the Indian Express, the SI is currently under suspension, after cases had been filed at the Civil Lines police station last month.

Singh was sent to judicial custody, by a local court in Etawah, reported IE quoting station house officer (SHO) Civil Lines police station, Jitendra Singh. The report also quoted Additional Superintendent of Police, Etawah, Ram Yash Singh who said “a departmental inquiry against Vijay Pratap Singh was pending” and that a notice has been issued to him.

According to the report, police said that some local residents had filed complaints against Vijay Pratap accusing him of making derogatory remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and UP Chief Minister Adityanath on social media. Singh also allegedly made derogatory remarks, the state government and also a particular religion on. Two cases were filed against him. “In all, five cases have been filed against Vijay Pratap in Etawah,” Jitendra Singh told the media.

The SI has had previous actions taken against him, stated the IE report. In March this year, police booked Vijay Pratap and three others for allegedly damaging a religious structure at a village in Sahso police station area in Etawah. Vijay Pratap was deployed in the village to ensure that local residents follow the lockdown norms. Police said Vijay Pratap allegedly told people to gather at a spot in the village and instigated them to damage a religious structure, reported IE. In July, a case was filed after Vijay Pratap allegedly got into a scuffle with a lawyer at court campus, said police. A case was filed at Civil Lines police station. 

According to news reports the SI had earlier been ‘warned’ for posting ‘derogatory comments against the PM, and the CM,’ on social media. Uttar Pradesh police seem to be paying special attention to social media posts, and are acting against anyone they feel is commenting unfavourably on the UP government.

Recently, the Uttar Pradesh Police had arrested Delhi-based journalist Prashant Kanojia, for the second time this year, allegedly over his social media posts. He was arrested on Tuesday, August 18, from his south Delhi residence and taken to the local police station. Kanojia will reportedly be taken to Lucknow for further investigation “in connection with some tweets”. According to his wife as they arrested Prashant UP police said, ‘Tweet ka mamla hai.’ When I asked them which tweet are they talking about, they said, ‘Bohot tweet kiye hain tumney, upar se orders aaye hain humein, follow toh karna padega’.”  (Translation: It's about tweets, you have tweeted a lot, the orders have come from above, we have to follow them.) 

Kanojia had been locked up in jail for a month now.

Related: 

BJP government under Adityanath is torturing the people in UP: Sanjay Singh 
No warrant, no due process: UP's 'Special Force' to bend all rules!
Heer Khan arrested by UP police for posting abusive anti-Hindu video 
BJP IT cell has gone rogue: Subramanian Swamy
Delhi-based Journalist Prashant Kanojia arrested by UP police for “some tweets”

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The end of Parliament Democracy: Farmers’ Unions decry passage of Agri Bills in RS

As protests continue against the anti-farmer Bills, the impunity with which the Upper House of the Parliament passed three key bills dubbed 'anti-farmer', is truly shocking.

21 Sep 2020

 

Image Courtesy:news18.com

Objecting to how the Rajya Sabha proceeded to pass three key agriculture bills on Sunday, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) dubbed the proceedings in the Upper House in the Parliament a “naked violation of the Constitution.”

The organisation’s anger was aimed at the three agriculture Bills, namely the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill that were allegedly undemocratically passed by the Centre on Sunday without required votes in the Rajya Sabha.

“This is nothing but the end of Parliamentary Democracy. Though the members in the opposition demanded division they were not allowed to vote by the Deputy Chairman. This kind of manipulation is shameful and such authoritarian fascist behavior under the guidance of the RSS-BJP led Modi Government in order to aid the corporate interests cannot be allowed in a democracy,” said the AIKS press release.

The statement added that by negating voting rights, the Centre’s passing of the Bill becomes null and void and called for a nation-wide protest on September 25.

Moreover, the MPs in opposition gave a no confidence motion against the Vice Chairman. MPs from the ruling alliance like the Telangana Rashtra Samithy, All India Dravida Munnetta Kazhakam also spoke strongly against the agriculture Bills.

“The government was not morally enjoying the majority support in the upper house. This is the indication of the political polarisation taking place at the state and national level based on the awakening among the peasantry against the anti-farmer policies of the Modi Government,” said AIKS.

The repercussions of the Bills were witnessed even before what transpired in the Rajya Sabha, when a 70-year-old farmer died by suicide on September 18 while protesting against the Bills in Punjab.

Farmers organisations in Punjab declared the man as the first martyr of the “Anti-Agriculture Bills movement,” said a Gauri Lankesh News report. The aged farmer had been participating in protests organised by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU Ekta Ugrahan) since September 15 at Badal village.

While the police do not know the cause behind the aged farmer’s extreme step, the BKU’s (Ekta Ugrahan) General Secretary Sukhdev Singh claimed that he was under debt and demanded the administration give compensation to the family of the deceased.

Related:

Amendments to agricultural laws, dangerous for farmers: National Unions
Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation, a public warning from Punjab farmers?
Over 42,000 workers from informal sector allegedly die by suicide
AIKS congratulates farmers on protests against anti-farmer ordinances issued by Centre

The end of Parliament Democracy: Farmers’ Unions decry passage of Agri Bills in RS

As protests continue against the anti-farmer Bills, the impunity with which the Upper House of the Parliament passed three key bills dubbed 'anti-farmer', is truly shocking.

 

Image Courtesy:news18.com

Objecting to how the Rajya Sabha proceeded to pass three key agriculture bills on Sunday, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) dubbed the proceedings in the Upper House in the Parliament a “naked violation of the Constitution.”

The organisation’s anger was aimed at the three agriculture Bills, namely the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill that were allegedly undemocratically passed by the Centre on Sunday without required votes in the Rajya Sabha.

“This is nothing but the end of Parliamentary Democracy. Though the members in the opposition demanded division they were not allowed to vote by the Deputy Chairman. This kind of manipulation is shameful and such authoritarian fascist behavior under the guidance of the RSS-BJP led Modi Government in order to aid the corporate interests cannot be allowed in a democracy,” said the AIKS press release.

The statement added that by negating voting rights, the Centre’s passing of the Bill becomes null and void and called for a nation-wide protest on September 25.

Moreover, the MPs in opposition gave a no confidence motion against the Vice Chairman. MPs from the ruling alliance like the Telangana Rashtra Samithy, All India Dravida Munnetta Kazhakam also spoke strongly against the agriculture Bills.

“The government was not morally enjoying the majority support in the upper house. This is the indication of the political polarisation taking place at the state and national level based on the awakening among the peasantry against the anti-farmer policies of the Modi Government,” said AIKS.

The repercussions of the Bills were witnessed even before what transpired in the Rajya Sabha, when a 70-year-old farmer died by suicide on September 18 while protesting against the Bills in Punjab.

Farmers organisations in Punjab declared the man as the first martyr of the “Anti-Agriculture Bills movement,” said a Gauri Lankesh News report. The aged farmer had been participating in protests organised by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU Ekta Ugrahan) since September 15 at Badal village.

While the police do not know the cause behind the aged farmer’s extreme step, the BKU’s (Ekta Ugrahan) General Secretary Sukhdev Singh claimed that he was under debt and demanded the administration give compensation to the family of the deceased.

Related:

Amendments to agricultural laws, dangerous for farmers: National Unions
Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation, a public warning from Punjab farmers?
Over 42,000 workers from informal sector allegedly die by suicide
AIKS congratulates farmers on protests against anti-farmer ordinances issued by Centre

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Agricultural Bills passed sans votes! Nation-wide, farmers rise in anger, Oppn United

Throwing all pretence of parliamentary rules and decorum to the wind, the Centre decided to pass agricultural Bills without the required votes in the Rajya Sabha.

20 Sep 2020

Agriculture bill

The Centre has decided to pass three controversial agricultural Bills in the Rajya Sabha despite lacking the required number of votes on September 20. This act of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) completely affronts the essence of democracy and disregards Parliamentary rule and procedure.Incidentally, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare had admitted to the agrarian crisis on September 18when it said that more than 10,000 farmers, cultivators had died by suicide in 2019. This is part of the staggering 42,000 suicide deaths in the informal sector in that year. With the new “reforms” things are likely to just get worse.

RS MP, Derek Brien of the Trinamool Congress took to twitter to express his outrage.

 

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s (TRS) President K. Chandrashekhar Rao had, along with other MPs from his party vehemently opposed the “anti-farmer” dubbed Bills. However, the Centre called for a voice-vote amid loud protests and despite lacking the required quorum, and went on to pass the Bill/Act. That too on a session called on Sunday! Worse, the proceedings of the official Rajya Sabha TV station were silenced so Indians, in a democracy could not hear or see the proceedings that took place in the Upper House.

 

 

 

 

“Today is the black day of Indian Parliament for passing the death warrant to Indian farmers by adopting three anti farmers bill breaking all rules and Procedures.No voting was allowed. Modi is the purohit [priest] of this last rites of Indian peasantry. Now all democratic secular people should rise againstthis anti-people anti-farmers anti-national conspiracy and defeat the demon,” said AIKSCC’s General Secretary Hannan Mollah.

The three Bills in question are the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill which had received widespread condemnation from farmer’s Unions for their pro-corporate policies.

The world over, in all countries, barring one, price security for farmers’ produce is always provided for by Government, not by companies, which only buy cheap to sell dear and earn huge profits.

 

 

In retaliation to the government decision, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committeehas called for an all-India farmers’protest on September 25. The organisation intends to launch a massive resistance against the three Bills/Acts, the New Power Bill 2020 and the steep hike in Diesel and Petrol prices. Moreover, they also demanded that the Central Government pass the two Bills proposed by AIKSCC for “Karja Mukti, Poora Daam” (Debt relief, Full Price.)

Similarly, the All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) said it would participate in the All India Protest Day day as well. They said various resistance actions such as Rasta Roko, Rail Roko will be organized throughout the country against the destructive legislations promulgated by the Centre. Moreover, the AIAWU said it would observe bandhs in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh as well.

According to the AIAWA’s press release, “The aim of these three legislations is to abolish the APMC Mandis, Government’s role in procurement at MSP, and to allow corporates the freedom for hoarding and black-marketing. At the same time, corporates are promoted in the agriculture sector through contract farming.”

The press released pointed out that these laws would adversely affect the general public of India. The laws will affect the public distribution as well as prices of essential commodities that will hereon be dictated by the market.

“The Central Government which is hell-bent to serve the interests of the big corporates is exposing the lives of millions to danger by giving freedom to free-market forces in the agricultural sector, which is already in crisis, and farmers and agricultural workers are forced to commit suicides,” it said.

Meanwhile, the AIKSCC also rubbished the Centre’s claims of a pro-Minimum Support Price (MSP) attitude.

 

 

This was in reference to a recent Parliament question and answer session wherein data presented by Minister of State For Ministry Of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Danve Raosaheb Dadarao showed that the number of wheat farmers who availed MSPs doubled in the last five years, while the number of paddy farmers who availed MSPs increased by 70 percent in the same period.

 

In a press released, the AIKSCC said that price security for farmers’ produce has always been provided by the Union governments and not by companies. The private sector would only buy cheap to sell dear and earn huge profits.

“Farmers’ indebtedness has grown during BJP rule and is rising faster as input prices are being raised by the Government, as in Electricity and Diesel and by the Companies which will have freedom to contract peasant land and force farmers to buy dear under the new laws. Indian peasants and the landless are committing suicide in huge numbers, almost two every hour, but despite slogan of ‘atmanirbharta’, the Government is selling their interest to big companies,” it said.

The Opposition, across the Board has opposed these moves of the Modi.2 government that is being clearly interpreted as a further bid to squeeze farmer interests and leave them to the mercy of large agro-corporates.

The major Opposition Party in Bihar, that goes to the polls within a month, the Rashtiya Janata Dal (RJD) was unequivocal:

 

 

Punjab:

 

 

Tamil Nadu:

 

 

Related:

Amendments to agricultural laws, dangerous for farmers: National Unions

Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation, a public warning from Punjab farmers?

Over 42,000 workers from informal sector allegedly die by suicide

AIKS congratulates farmers on protests against anti-farmer ordinances issued by Centre

Agricultural Bills passed sans votes! Nation-wide, farmers rise in anger, Oppn United

Throwing all pretence of parliamentary rules and decorum to the wind, the Centre decided to pass agricultural Bills without the required votes in the Rajya Sabha.

Agriculture bill

The Centre has decided to pass three controversial agricultural Bills in the Rajya Sabha despite lacking the required number of votes on September 20. This act of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) completely affronts the essence of democracy and disregards Parliamentary rule and procedure.Incidentally, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare had admitted to the agrarian crisis on September 18when it said that more than 10,000 farmers, cultivators had died by suicide in 2019. This is part of the staggering 42,000 suicide deaths in the informal sector in that year. With the new “reforms” things are likely to just get worse.

RS MP, Derek Brien of the Trinamool Congress took to twitter to express his outrage.

 

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s (TRS) President K. Chandrashekhar Rao had, along with other MPs from his party vehemently opposed the “anti-farmer” dubbed Bills. However, the Centre called for a voice-vote amid loud protests and despite lacking the required quorum, and went on to pass the Bill/Act. That too on a session called on Sunday! Worse, the proceedings of the official Rajya Sabha TV station were silenced so Indians, in a democracy could not hear or see the proceedings that took place in the Upper House.

 

 

 

 

“Today is the black day of Indian Parliament for passing the death warrant to Indian farmers by adopting three anti farmers bill breaking all rules and Procedures.No voting was allowed. Modi is the purohit [priest] of this last rites of Indian peasantry. Now all democratic secular people should rise againstthis anti-people anti-farmers anti-national conspiracy and defeat the demon,” said AIKSCC’s General Secretary Hannan Mollah.

The three Bills in question are the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill which had received widespread condemnation from farmer’s Unions for their pro-corporate policies.

The world over, in all countries, barring one, price security for farmers’ produce is always provided for by Government, not by companies, which only buy cheap to sell dear and earn huge profits.

 

 

In retaliation to the government decision, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committeehas called for an all-India farmers’protest on September 25. The organisation intends to launch a massive resistance against the three Bills/Acts, the New Power Bill 2020 and the steep hike in Diesel and Petrol prices. Moreover, they also demanded that the Central Government pass the two Bills proposed by AIKSCC for “Karja Mukti, Poora Daam” (Debt relief, Full Price.)

Similarly, the All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) said it would participate in the All India Protest Day day as well. They said various resistance actions such as Rasta Roko, Rail Roko will be organized throughout the country against the destructive legislations promulgated by the Centre. Moreover, the AIAWU said it would observe bandhs in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh as well.

According to the AIAWA’s press release, “The aim of these three legislations is to abolish the APMC Mandis, Government’s role in procurement at MSP, and to allow corporates the freedom for hoarding and black-marketing. At the same time, corporates are promoted in the agriculture sector through contract farming.”

The press released pointed out that these laws would adversely affect the general public of India. The laws will affect the public distribution as well as prices of essential commodities that will hereon be dictated by the market.

“The Central Government which is hell-bent to serve the interests of the big corporates is exposing the lives of millions to danger by giving freedom to free-market forces in the agricultural sector, which is already in crisis, and farmers and agricultural workers are forced to commit suicides,” it said.

Meanwhile, the AIKSCC also rubbished the Centre’s claims of a pro-Minimum Support Price (MSP) attitude.

 

 

This was in reference to a recent Parliament question and answer session wherein data presented by Minister of State For Ministry Of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Danve Raosaheb Dadarao showed that the number of wheat farmers who availed MSPs doubled in the last five years, while the number of paddy farmers who availed MSPs increased by 70 percent in the same period.

 

In a press released, the AIKSCC said that price security for farmers’ produce has always been provided by the Union governments and not by companies. The private sector would only buy cheap to sell dear and earn huge profits.

“Farmers’ indebtedness has grown during BJP rule and is rising faster as input prices are being raised by the Government, as in Electricity and Diesel and by the Companies which will have freedom to contract peasant land and force farmers to buy dear under the new laws. Indian peasants and the landless are committing suicide in huge numbers, almost two every hour, but despite slogan of ‘atmanirbharta’, the Government is selling their interest to big companies,” it said.

The Opposition, across the Board has opposed these moves of the Modi.2 government that is being clearly interpreted as a further bid to squeeze farmer interests and leave them to the mercy of large agro-corporates.

The major Opposition Party in Bihar, that goes to the polls within a month, the Rashtiya Janata Dal (RJD) was unequivocal:

 

 

Punjab:

 

 

Tamil Nadu:

 

 

Related:

Amendments to agricultural laws, dangerous for farmers: National Unions

Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation, a public warning from Punjab farmers?

Over 42,000 workers from informal sector allegedly die by suicide

AIKS congratulates farmers on protests against anti-farmer ordinances issued by Centre

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Now, Smriti Irani says no data on anganwadi workforce!

Ministry of Women and Child Development submits before Parliament that it has no data for women workers who exited anganwadis.

19 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:amarujala.com

Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani on September 17 told the Parliament that the Ministry does not maintain data on the number of women who exited the anganwadi workforce after the coronavirus lockdown.

After the failings of the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare this is the third Central department to say that it does not maintain unorganised sector data.

“This Ministry does not maintain this data,” was the curt reply of Minister Irani; a recurrent statement observed during this year’s monsoon session.

Similarly, Irani also failed to correctly answer Member of Parliament (MP) Mallikarjun Kharge’s query on the number of girls who dropped out of schools following the lockdown. The Union Minister said the Centre was making efforts to reduce the number of dropouts through Centrally-sponsored schemes such as Samagra Shiksha although she did not mention the exact figure of such dropouts.

“The Department of School Education has issued guidelines for States/UTs with regard to children of migrant labourers to prevent their drop-out,” she said.

When asked about government measures to ensure more women participation in the workforce post-lockdown, Irani said that the government has advised the public including women to take all precautions for prevention from Covid-19, while pursuing professions. Activities like work-from-home, online teaching, tele-medicine consultations were encouraged.

Lastly, on increasing salaries of anganwadi workers/ ASHA workers, due to inflation, she said that the government that in addition to the monthly payment of Rs. 2,000 under the National Health Mission, the government had paid an additional incentive of Rs 1,000 per month in view of the ASHA workers significant contribution towards Covid-19 pandemic related work.

“States/UTs have been asked to ensure provision of safety tools like masks and sanitizers for ASHAs and under the recently launched Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, Insurance Scheme has been introduced for all health workers, including ASHAs. This insurance scheme provides an insurance cover of Rs. 50 Lakhs in case of loss of life due to COVID 19 pandemic or else due to accident on account of Covid-19 related duty,” said Irani.

MP Tiruchi Siva asked about state-wise and district-wise numbers of anganwadi centres and the vacancies therein as of August 2020. Sivas also asked for the number of centres set up between 2014-2019.

The Ministry data showed that as of June 30, as many as 13,83,875 anganwadi centres have been operational all over the country of the 13,99,697 centres sanctioned.

Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Rajasthan, Punjab, Odisha, Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Telangana had fewer operational centres than the number of sanctioned centres.

Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of vacancies at 19,807 positions out of 1,90,145 sanctioned positions. Nationally there were 79,971 vacant positions out of 13,99,697 sanctioned positions. Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh and Ladakh had zero vacancies.

In 2018-19, 13,72,872 anganwadi centres were operational in India out of the sanctioned number of 13,99,697 centres.

AU628 can be read here:

Related:

No data to check unemployment rate in last 12 months?
Strike 2: Centre now says no data on Covid-19 deaths of medical staff!
No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!

Now, Smriti Irani says no data on anganwadi workforce!

Ministry of Women and Child Development submits before Parliament that it has no data for women workers who exited anganwadis.

Image Courtesy:amarujala.com

Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani on September 17 told the Parliament that the Ministry does not maintain data on the number of women who exited the anganwadi workforce after the coronavirus lockdown.

After the failings of the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare this is the third Central department to say that it does not maintain unorganised sector data.

“This Ministry does not maintain this data,” was the curt reply of Minister Irani; a recurrent statement observed during this year’s monsoon session.

Similarly, Irani also failed to correctly answer Member of Parliament (MP) Mallikarjun Kharge’s query on the number of girls who dropped out of schools following the lockdown. The Union Minister said the Centre was making efforts to reduce the number of dropouts through Centrally-sponsored schemes such as Samagra Shiksha although she did not mention the exact figure of such dropouts.

“The Department of School Education has issued guidelines for States/UTs with regard to children of migrant labourers to prevent their drop-out,” she said.

When asked about government measures to ensure more women participation in the workforce post-lockdown, Irani said that the government has advised the public including women to take all precautions for prevention from Covid-19, while pursuing professions. Activities like work-from-home, online teaching, tele-medicine consultations were encouraged.

Lastly, on increasing salaries of anganwadi workers/ ASHA workers, due to inflation, she said that the government that in addition to the monthly payment of Rs. 2,000 under the National Health Mission, the government had paid an additional incentive of Rs 1,000 per month in view of the ASHA workers significant contribution towards Covid-19 pandemic related work.

“States/UTs have been asked to ensure provision of safety tools like masks and sanitizers for ASHAs and under the recently launched Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, Insurance Scheme has been introduced for all health workers, including ASHAs. This insurance scheme provides an insurance cover of Rs. 50 Lakhs in case of loss of life due to COVID 19 pandemic or else due to accident on account of Covid-19 related duty,” said Irani.

MP Tiruchi Siva asked about state-wise and district-wise numbers of anganwadi centres and the vacancies therein as of August 2020. Sivas also asked for the number of centres set up between 2014-2019.

The Ministry data showed that as of June 30, as many as 13,83,875 anganwadi centres have been operational all over the country of the 13,99,697 centres sanctioned.

Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Rajasthan, Punjab, Odisha, Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Telangana had fewer operational centres than the number of sanctioned centres.

Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of vacancies at 19,807 positions out of 1,90,145 sanctioned positions. Nationally there were 79,971 vacant positions out of 13,99,697 sanctioned positions. Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh and Ladakh had zero vacancies.

In 2018-19, 13,72,872 anganwadi centres were operational in India out of the sanctioned number of 13,99,697 centres.

AU628 can be read here:

Related:

No data to check unemployment rate in last 12 months?
Strike 2: Centre now says no data on Covid-19 deaths of medical staff!
No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!

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