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IIT-Kharagpur students protest increase in fees

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Protesting against the rise in semester fees, several officials of IIT-Kharagpur including the director, deputy director, dean, and registrar were gheraoed by students of the premier institution for about 15 hours.The gherao was lifted Wednesday morning after intervention of officials from the Hijli outpost located on campus. Students however, maintained that their protest would continue.On December 7, a notice was issued by the IIT administration saying that there would be a hike in the semester fees by about Rs 7550. “As a result, the expenses for research scholars and M Tech students would shoot up to Rs 37,000 from being a little over Rs 29,000 at present. We have to pay semester fees every six months,” said one of the protesters. He also alleged that faculty members have retorted to their protest saying that if they were so unhappy with the fee structure they should not have come to study at the IIT.It was found out that a research scholar and an M Tech student get a stipend of Rs 25,000 and Rs 12,400, respectively.A student said that given the stipend it was as it is very difficult to manage, especially for those who came from economically weak families. “In a recent development, the menu of the mess here has been generalised and we don’t get to choose what we eat and will have to eat off a set menu, and on top of that we have to pay Rs 90 daily for food,” said another protester. He also alleged that the fee hike was only for IIT-Kharagpur and no other IITs of the country have done so.Students chanting slogans and holding placards demonstrated in front of the Director’s building yesterday at about 10pm, preventing officials from leaving.Institute officials said that the fee hike was owing to the payment of salary to some of the institute employees. “The director and the registrar have talked to the students’ representatives this morning and it has been decided that the problem would be solved through a dialogue. Although the fee structure remains as it was according to the last notification, there is possibility of a restructuring after another round of meeting with the students’ representatives,” said a senior official of the institute.Later, talking to DNA, registrar of the institution, Pradip Payne said that the protest was mainly against the rise in charges for the hostel and hostel mess. Maintaining that there was no police intervention he said,

Indian Youth Congress to gherao Parliament over demonetization move

Fri, 18 Nov 2016-11:18am , New Delhi , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Youth Congress will gherao Parliament on Friday to protest against the government’s demonetization move.The protest march will begin from the Indian Youth Congress’ office at 5, Raisina Road.This comes as the Congress Party is leaving no stone unturned to pigeon hole the government on what it called a hasty move. The protest takes place a day after proceedings in parliament were stalled over the demonetization issue. The Lok Sabha managed to transact business only till noon yesterday, while the Rajya Sabha witnessed five adjournments before adjourning for the day.

Haji Ali row: Trupti Desai calls off protest for today, says will continue fight for entry

After reaching late over an hour to protest outside Haji Ali dargah on Thursday, Trupti Desai, could not get down outside the Dargah Road which leads to the shrine. While the police managed to stop the crowd around her car, Desai had to flee the spot and wait for the police to make arrangements for her visit.Alleging that there were people with her outside the car, due to which she had to go ahead. “The police is making arrangements for my visit ahead. I will not be going without visiting the dargah. If people will co-operate with me, issues will resolve easily. The women with me in the car saw lathis and weapons. Fearing people may get violent, I will go in once the cops have done proper arrangements. Any harm to my supporters and I will be the responsibility to the government and police. Though we have not got proper support by police,” Desai said. While Desai said that she will not be entering the mazhar (tomb of the saint) and would abide by the laws today, she said that she will continue to fight for the approval of women to enter there. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Along with her supporters, she did some sloganeering a few metres from the dargah entrance where those opposing her stood guard. “We will fight for this and nobody can stop me from entering the dargah. I am going as a normal citizen,” Desai said.Desai alleged that the protesters were carrying weapons and tried to attack her with knives but she escaped in her car. She added while the police was cooperating right now, they had not been doing so earlier. Desai was still at the dargah in the evening and said she would not leave till she is allowed to enter. While clerics say the entrance of women is banned for security reasons, Desai opined that it was the duty of the dargah management to take action and see that necessary security arrangements were made.The Haji Ali Sab ke Liye Forum ended their protest after waiting for Desai over an hour. “The time for protest is getting over. We are ending our peaceful protest today, but we will have similar demonstrations again,” said Feroze Mithiborewala of the forum. He also said that Desai not arriving on time for the protest was not a setback as she was not the sole face of the protest.On the other hand, AIMIM, Shiv Sena and other local parties were adamant about not letting Desai enter the mazhar at Haji Ali. “We shall not let her enter the dargah. We will be physical if this happens,” an AIMIM member threatened.

Will discuss EPF interest rate issue with FM: Dattatreya

New Delhi: A day before nationwide protest by trade unions against lowering of EPF interest rate, Labour
Minister Bandaru Dattatreya today said that he will discuss the issue with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Trade Unions will go on a day long protest tomorrow to oppose the Finance Ministry decision to ratify 8.7 per cent EPF interest rate for 2015-16, which is lower than 8.8 per cent decided by the retirement fund body EPFO.

PensionThinkstockPensionThinkstock“My ministry is examining and shortly we are going to have a sitting with the Finance Minister. Then we will have a dialogue and see that what solution can come out,” Dattatreya told reporters at an industry event.

The minister further said: “Now in this situation, I asked my Central Provident Fund Commissioner to get all the reports.
Last year we have given 8.75 per cent. So as chairman of the CBT taking a consensus view CBT has taken a decision of giving
8.8 per cent. It has been forwarded to Finance Ministry.”

Asked why was finance ministry not considering labour ministry’s opinion, he said: “finance is an advisory one. It will ultimately be the government of India. My ministry and I as Central Board of Trustees Chairman are also part of the government…will sit together and see that the problem will be solved.”

On alleged interference of Finance Ministry in working of the EPFO, he said: “No no, ultimately it is (just) advice of the Finance Ministry… Finance Ministry is not entangled in this issue. The thing is that they are advising because interest rates are coming down.”

When asked what is his opinion on the issue, “the CBT and as its head, CBT has given its opinion”.

However, the central trade unions are going ahead with their protest tomorrow against the Finance Ministry’s EPF interest rate ratification at 8.7 per cent.

“This is for information that the Delhi Units of Central Trade Unions i.e. AITUC, INTUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, SEWA, AICCTU, UTUC, LPF and MEC have decided to organise jointly a protest Dharna on April 29, 2016 against the Finance Minister for reducing in EPF interest rate ignoring unanimous decision of tripartite CBT,” said a press release by All India Trade Union Congress.

It further said, “This protest from all Central Trade Unions is to condemn such arrogant, anti-worker approach of the Central Government.

NIT Srinagar row: Non-local students hold protest in Jammu for second consecutive day

Jammu: Non-local students of National Institute of Technology (NIT), Srinagar held a protest in Jammu for the second consecutive day on Tuesday.

They were joined by students of Jammu University.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The NIT students have been demanding action against police officials involved in baton charging non-local students and permanent deployment of CRPF on the campus.

The NIT students, supported by the National Students Union of India (NSUI), held a protest rally in Jammu and raised slogans criticising Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani.

The protest rally started from the central library of Jammu University and ended at Bikram Chowk.

A group of non-local students also boycotted classes which started on Tuesday, saying they will continue their protest till their demands are met.

“We will accept nothing less than action against the police officials involved in baton charging the non local students for raising the national tricolour. The police resorted to baton charging on non-local students who were raising slogans like Bharat Mata Ki Jai,” said an agitating student.

Another student claimed police failed to act when the non local students were threatened to death by the locals.

On Saturday, over 300 students including NIT students had carried out a protest march from Press Club to Science College here in support of their demands.

The students had held a similar protest on Monday.

Maharashtra: MLA Bacchu Kadu arrested for slapping bureaucrat

The police on Wednesday arrested independent legislator from Maharashtra Bacchu Kadu, who had allegedly slapped a bureaucrat on Tuesday after a scuffle over allowing lawmakers’ associate to live in government quarters.”We have arrested MLA Bacchu Kadu and will produce him in court tomorrow,” said Mumbai DCP Manoj Sharma.Maharashtra government employees working at the Mantralaya, the state secretariat, on Wednesday called off their protest against the alleged assault on an official by an Independent MLA.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Mantralaya employees had gone on a flash strike on Tuesday to protest against the incident and demand action against the legislator. The protest continued on Wednesday, with the staff assembling in Mantralaya, seeking action against Achalapur MLA Bachchu Kadu, against whom an FIR has been lodged.However, in the evening, the Mantralaya staff decided to call off the protest. The agitation has been put on hold till April 4.”It is not alright to hold people of the state to ransom because of one MLA,” Mantralaya employees union president Ramchandra Dhanawade said.Earlier, Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse announced an enquiry by the Chief Secretary into the alleged assault.”The chief secretary has been asked to submit a report and we shall take action based on the recommendations,” he said.Kadu, along with a clerk Ashok Jadhav, hag gone to meet B R Gavit, Deputy Secretary, General Administration Department on Tuesday. He was insisting that Jadhav be allowed to continue to stay in the government quarters and be alloted additional accommodation, in violation of norms, a Mantralaya official said.The officer apparently refused to entertain his demand. An infuriated Kadu allegedly abused and hit him hard on the head, the Mantralaya official said. Reacting to the episode, Kadu told reporters that the government was supporting an officer who harassed people.”Instead of taking action against me, the government should act against such officers. What I did is for the common people,” he said.A three-term MLA from Achalpur in Amravati district, Kadu, back in 2009 had also assaulted a clerk in Mantralaya after he had refused to release an order. Making a statement in the Assembly today, Kadu denied having assaulted the official.”I did not beat him. Had I beaten him, I would have said so. If such false allegations are being levelled, should we (legislators) stop going to Mantralaya,” he asked.”Jadhav wanted to continue living in the quarters for two more years on medical grounds. I was trying to explain this to him (Gavit),” Kadu said.”Organised ‘dadagiri’ (intimidation) (by government officials) should stop,” Kadu said, making a reference to the protest by the Mantralaya staff over the incident. Independent MLA from Achalpur Bacchu Kadu on Tuesday allegedly slapped B R Gavit, deputy secretary, General Administration Department (GAD) over latter not allowing his associate to live in government quarters.Kadu’s associate who is currently living in government quarters has been allotted a flat under the 10% scheme. A complaint was registered with GAD in this connection.Kadu went to Gavit on behalf of his associate who wants to hold on to government accommodation. However, Gavit informed him that it was not possible as he already had a flat under the 10% scheme. The discussion between the two soared up and infuriated by Gavit’s adamant stand Kadu slapped him.

Dissent diary: The women protesting the Kudankulam power plant are chronicled in a new book

When documentary filmmaker and veteran journalist Minnie Vaid reached Idinthakarai, the site of the protest against the Kudankulam power plant in Tamil Nadu, the movement was on its 677th day. Minnie was drawn to the story of this protest by the local residents against the nuclear plant, mainly because there had been very little coverage of it in the mainstream press.

“There is generally very little coverage of dissenting voices against big projects. You can’t even call them the ‘voiceless’ because these are voices that have actually been stifled,” says Minnie, explaining why she decided to look more closely at the story. “I thought it was worth investigating what these women had been protesting for so long.”

Women protest against the Kudankulam power plant. Image from PTIWomen protest against the Kudankulam power plant. Image from PTI

Women protest against the Kudankulam power plant. Image from PTI

So six months after the pant went critical in mid-2013, Minnie sat down with the protesters — the Project Affected People (or PAP as they are called) — and tried to gauge what their concerns were. Their stories are now part of Minnie’s book, The Ant in the Ear of the Elephant, which was released by actress Nandita Das in Mumbai on 23 March.

Minnie tell us that while she had researched the subject before heading to the site, it didn’t prepare her for the ground reality: “The enormity of the struggle, what the women were facing, how the protest had become part of their routine – they would sit at the ‘Samara pandal’ in Idinthakarai, from 10 am to 4 pm with only some drinking water, arranging all their household chores around it.” Today, the protest is on its 1686th day.

The Kudankulam protest has been dogged by criticism, including the charge that the protesters themselves do not understand the intricacies regarding the operation of a nuclear power plant, and that vested interested have fuelled the agitation over time. Minnie says that she was aware of the reports that called the protest a “sponsored agitation” and was clear that she did not want to get into an argument about the merits/demerits of nuclear energy. Instead, she was interested in recording the testimonies of these people who were living with a nuclear plant in their figurative backyard.

What did she find? “That they feel they haven’t been given enough reasons to believe that the plant is safe,” Minnie says. “People always think that a nuclear plant is safe — as long as it’s not near their house. The government had ample time to ‘allay their (the protestors’) fears’. But their fears have not been ‘allayed’. The authorities have shared no information with them on their disaster management plan, compensation etc. As one of the women who is protesting said, ‘If the government can’t help us during a flood, how will they help us if a nuclear accident was to occur?’”

Documentary filmmaker and writer Minnie VaidDocumentary filmmaker and writer Minnie Vaid

Documentary filmmaker and writer Minnie Vaid

As she gathered testimonies, Minnie was struck by the stories of several of these women. There was Sundari — a homemaker who saw photos of the Fukushima nuclear accident and was inspired to join the protest against the Kudankulam plant. Milret joined the protests when she was just 15, and travels by train to wherever the protests are happening. Tamilarasi — who Minnie describes as a slight mother-of-nine (the youngest is two, the eldest, 17) who always has the hugest smile — feels people like her have suffered twice: First, due to the tsunami, after which they were relocated, and now, with the power plant. Minnie says all of the women she met are characterised by their indomitable will, by their tenacity.

Indeed, the immediate feature that seems to set the Kudankulam protest apart from other movements by Project Affected People is that this is an “all-women” one. “Women have been at the forefront of the Kudankulam protest. As SP Udayakumar of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy pointed out, ‘They (the women) are more dedicated, less susceptible to corruption and they don’t drink (as compared to men),” says Minnie. “They haven’t got as much exposure as a Narmada Bachao Andolan, but they have still continued. It has been among the most democratic, non-violent protests (in Tamil Nadu).”

BJP MLA allegedly beats up police horse with a lathi, breaks its leg

Dehradun: A horse deployed as part of mounted police was injured during a protest march by BJP to the state assembly in Dehradun on Monday with the ruling Congress alleging that it sustained injuries after being attacked by BJP’s Mussoorie MLA Ganesh Joshi, a charge denied by the opposition party.

Screenshot from CNN-IBN video.

Screenshot from CNN-IBN video.

The incident happened during BJP’s march against “corruption and poor law and order” to the state assembly which was stopped at barricades put up by Uttarakhand police near Ripsana bridge, a few metres from the state assembly premises.

Hours after the incident, two videos, one of them purportedly showing the horse’s broken hind leg and the other showing the BJP legislator from Mussoorie attacking the horse with a lathi from the front, went viral sparking an allegation by Chief Minister Harish Rawat’s media in-charge Surendra Kumar that the animal had “fallen a victim to Joshi’s cruelty”.

BJP spokesman Munna Singh Chauhan denied the charge claiming that the horse had got injured after one of its legs got stuck in a pothole.

State BJP President Ajay Bhatt said he had not seen the videos and would not able to comment on the circumstances that may have led to injuries to the horse.

The horse was part of mounted police deployed to control the protest march called by the opposition party to protest against the state government’s alleged failure on all fronts including law and order and corruption.

PTI

Jat quota stir: Haryana cops book five vandals for damaging property

Faridabad: Five persons were booked for blocking the national highway, pelting stones at police
personnel and damaging government property to demand quota for Jats, police said in Faridabad on Monday.

File image of the Jat community protesting for reservation. PTIFile image of the Jat community protesting for reservation. PTI

File image of the Jat community protesting for reservation. PTI

According to the police, as many as 300 protesters had blocked the National highway sector 59 in Jhadsentali village in Faridabad on Sunday.

When police tried to intervene to end the blockade, the agitated protesters had pelted stones at them and their
vehicles, a police spokesperson said, adding, some of the persons stranded in the traffic jam were also injured.

Security has been stepped up in view of the protest, the official said.

Many vehicles were also damaged in the protest, police said.

Police have registered a case under relevant sections against Ram Mehar, Hemant, Ramprasad, Sandeep and Rajeev of
neighbouring sectors, the official said.

PTI

JNU row: Ex-servicemen participate in unity march

Scores of ex-servicemen and people from various walks of life on Sunday participated in a unity march against the alleged anti-national sloganeering on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus over the hanging of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.The protest was organised under the banner ‘March For Unity To Save The Country’.”People from all walks of life have come here to join this protest against the anti-national sloganeering on the JNU campus. The protest has been organised by an apolitical group ?People for Nation? to support nation’s spirit,” said one of the protestors.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”They should support India because this is the country which feeds us,” he added.Another protestor said any sloganeering against the nation is condemnable.”And that is why the people of Delhi have come out on the streets in large numbers,” he added.Major General (Retd.) Dhruv C. Katoch had yesterday said the rally has been organised by an apolitical group ‘People for Nation’.The march, which began at the Raj Ghat at 10.30 a.m., will culminate with a public meeting at the Parliament Street here.

Ending his three-year protest, Goa man shaves beard

A 37-year-old man from Canacona area near here who decided not to shave his beard till bridges on two rivers is built, ended his three-year-long protest after Union Minister Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stones recently. In an unique form of protest, Mahesh Varik, a businessman from Loliem village in Canacona had decided not to shave his beard till the long pending demand of bridges across Talpona and Galjibag river is fulfilled.A staunch BJP supporter, Varik began his protest in 2012 when the party came to power in Goa. The bridges were needed to give respite from long distance travel to thousands of locals including students. On January 2 at the foundation laying ceremony of the bridges near here Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in presence of Gadkari had announced, “The foundation stone is laid. Now Varik can go to a barber and shave his beard.” South Goa Member of Parliament Narendra Sawaikar had also referred Varik and his protest during his short speech before Gadkari unveiled the plank of the foundation stone. “When Gadkari laid the foundation stone for the bridges, I broke my vow and shaved after three years,” said Varik whose beard was almost touching his belly.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”After hearing the news, I immediately went to a barber and returned with a clean shaven look. The foundation stone is laid, that means the bridges would naturally be completed. We have to trust government at least that much,” he said while claiming that the protest was for his fellow villagers. Gadkari had laid foundation stone for 7.74 km long bypass which included bridges over Talpona River (450 metres), Galjibad River (500 metres) and at Mashem (130 metres). “The protest was not against the government or the party. I just wanted to make sure that the bridges are constructed. I had told the then Chief Minister (Manohar Parrikar) that I will not shave till the demand is fulfilled,” Varik said.The bridges will save people from travelling almost 9 km to reach the famous Galjibag beach or St Anthony High School in that area or even the Church where people go for religious masses, he said.

Jammu and Kashmir: Mehbooba Mufti, Ram Madhav hold talks; Governor asks parties to make position clear

“Why is BJP forcing this uncertainty on the state? Mehbooba, understandably, needs time to grieve but these guys?” Omar wrote on Twitter.

PTI
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