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Congress calls for all-opposition anti-demonetisation meet, Left, JD(U) and NCP to skip

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress Party has called for a anti-demonetization meeting on Tuesday.The meeting will be followed by a joint press conference to be addressed by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders. Congress president Sonia Gandhi is also expected to join.However, its attempt to unite all opposition parties against demonetization has suffered a severe jolt with the Left, Janata Dal United and the Nationalist Congress Party expressing their inability to attend.The meeting is seen as an attempt on the part of the grand old party to paper over the cracks that developed when several opposition parties skipped the joint march to Rashtrapati Bhawan on December 16 over demonetization.Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury yesterday said there were no consultations and things were not planned properly for the joint meeting.He, however, said there is no dispute within the opposition on demonetization and its impact on the people.JD (U) and NCP sources have also cited improper co-ordination as a reason for not participating.JD (U) leader K C Tyagi said no common minimum programme has been worked out for it, adding that all opposition parties do not have the same stand on the banning of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency notes.Congress leader and former union minister Jairam Ramesh, however, has downplayed some political parties skipping the meeting, citing local and regional compulsions as reasons for non-particpation.Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is in New Delhi for the meeting. DMK, RJD and others are also scheduled to participate.

Mamata arrives in capital to attend joint Oppn meeting, Left to stay away

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Raising the stakes in her fight against Modi government on demonetization, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee arrived in New Delhi to attend a meeting of opposition parties and a joint press conference tomorrow along with Congress, DMK, RJD and other parties.Mamata, who is spearheading the fight against demonetization, will be part of the joint opposition meeting, TMC sources said. Banerjee told reporters at the Kolkata airport, “The Congress has called me for the meeting. Let’s see what happens!” She will attend the media briefing at Constitution Club along with other Opposition leaders including representatives from DMK and RJD among others, sources added. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi are expected to attend the meeting.While the Left parties announced they are staying away, the JD(U) also gave hints that it may follow suit. A top TMC leader told PTI while reacting to CPI-M’s pull-out, said, “It is the CPI-M’s internal matter. But we feel that it is for them to decide on which side they are.” TMC chief will be in the capital for three days and expected to meet several leaders from different political hues during her stay.We want to highlight the hardships caused due to demonetization across the country, a senior TMC leader claimed. CPI(M) not to attendCracks appeared in the Opposition’s unity as the CPI(M) today decided to stay away from a press conference by the opposition parties convened by the Congress, citing “lack of coordination and consultation” among the participants. “We have decided to stay away from the press conference of opposition parties convened by the Congress because there has been no proper consultation and coordination among the parties,” CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury told a press conference here.”Most of the parties were neither consulted nor informed about what will be the agenda of the meeting. Several opposition parties have reservation about the way the meeting has been convened,” Yechury said.The Congress is striving for uniting the Opposition on the issue of Rahul Gandhi’s charges of “personal corruption” against the Prime Minister and plans are afoot for a joint press conference by its president Sonia Gandhi and other opposition leaders on December 27.Yechury said that a few days back he had received a call from the Congress leadership inviting him to the press conference on December 27. “But when I wanted to know what will be the agenda of the meeting, plan of action and whether all opposition parties have been called, I didn’t receive any answer,” Yechury said. On being asked if the decision to stay away would not provide ammunition to the BJP camp, Yechury said,” When you want to take the opposition unity of 16 parties from a Parliament level to a political level then you need to hold consultation and discussion with the political leadership. A decision should be taken on the basis of proper consultation.That was not done, which is unfortunate,” the veteran leader said.He noted that in order to take forward the unity of opposition parties, references should be taken from the efforts that the CPI(M) has taken during the 1996 United Front government and UPA-I government. Yechury wondered why only the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee was invited to the press conference and Chief Ministers of Tripura, Bihar, and the NCP leadership were not properly consulted. “Why are you only inviting Chief Minister of West Bengal and not calling CMs of Bihar, Tripura and other states which have non-BJP governments?” he questioned.

After wasting 18 days, RS gets into Act, clears Disabilities Bill

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After wasting 18 days in pandemonium on demonetization, the Rajya Sabha finally conducted its first legislative business of the Winter Session on Wednesday, unanimously passing the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016.The exhaustive Bill, containing 119 amendments, had 59 suggestions from the Standing Committee that were accepted by the government.Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Thawar Chand Gehlot, said: “All the standing committee recommendations have been accepted. The number of categories of disabled are to be increased for physical as well as mental disabilities.”CPM leader Sitaram Yechury asked the government to remove the clause “this does not apply to posts that require people who are not disabled” and sought that the “reservation should be based on cadre strength, not on number of vacancies meant to be filled” to which Gehlot said he would ensure this is incorporated in the Rules later.To another issue raised by Yechury on the competent authority who will define certain disabilities, Gehlot said the medical board will decide on the definition as well as what disabilities are.Congress MP Viplove Thakur raised the need to extend the provision of disability pension to people below 18 years of age. Genhot replied that the benefit was not provided in the laws.The Bill was introduced by the UPA government in 2014, and an independent body of experts, The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), was set up in 2010 under activist Sudha Kaul to draw up the Bill and also to monitor policies regarding disability.While the Persons With Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, identifies blindness, low vision, leprosy-cured, hearing impairment, locomotor disability, mental retardation and mental illness as disability, the 2016 Bill extends that to over 21 disabilities. These include autism spectrum disorder, blindness, cerebral palsy, locomotor disability, low-vision, leprosy cured persons, hearing impairment (deaf and hard of hearing), dwarfism, intellectual disability, mental illness, muscular dystrophy, chronic neurological conditions, specific learning disabilities, multiple sclerosis, speech and language disability, thalassemia, haemophilia, sickle, cell disease, multiple disabilities, survivors of acid attacks, and Parkinson’s disease.The 2016 Bill is also compliant with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was ratified by India in 2007, adding for the first time, punitive action against those who discriminate against the disabled. While first-time offenders are now punishable for a 6-month jail time, and a fine of Rs 10,000, repeat offenders will be punishable of a jail term of up to 2 years with a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh.The Bill also makes those with over 40 per cent disability to state benefits, including reservations in employment, education, railway tickets, etc., and increased the existing reservation quota of three per cent to five per cent, adding one per cent each for those suffering from mental illnesses and multiple disabilities.Guardianship of two types have been introduced by the Bill, including limited guardianship wherein the differently-challenged person takes joint decisions with the guardian, and plenary guardianship, where the guardian can take decisions on behalf of him/her.The Bill also extends the definition of “establishment” to include private bodies, and requires all existing public buildings to be made accessible for persons with disability, within five years.Another Standing Committee recommendation the Bill will adopt is the introduction of a sub-section on the rights of women and children with disabilities, which will help women and children access rights of equality and empowerment.While lauding the inclusiveness of the Bill, Dr Indumathi Rao of the CBR Network said that one of the drawbacks of the Bill is that it does not include infirmity due to old age, which is a crippling worry for many. “The government needs to follow this up by an increase in the budgetary allocation. And, since disability is a state subject, a massive awareness campaign to let people know about the new amendments is needed,” she said.Vikas Sharma of Disability Helpline India says that the Bill also ignores demands for the inclusion of political reservation for the disabled. “If we are looking at equity, we need to extend that to the highest echelons of the government,” he said.The government is expecting to table and pass the Bill in the Lok Sabha in the last remaining days of the Winter Session.

Indo-US military logistics pact is ‘mundane’: Richard Verma

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> US Ambassador to India Richard Verma on Wednesday said the military logistics memorandum agreement signed with India was mundane in nature and was only limited to logistics.”The logistics memorandum agreement between India and the US is only limited to logistics and mundane in nature. There is no question of India compromising on its security by signing the pact,” Verma told reporters at thePress Club here. He said the agreement would enable both countries to share bases, fuel and food and was a good recognition of where the bilateral ties stood today. CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had earlier demanded the contents of the military logistics pact between India and the US be made public. Verma, who had been in office in India for the last two years, said the defence ties with India “stand on its own.” “Defence relations with India stand on its own and is not a buyer-seller relation,” the Ambassador said.He said both countries had important defence deals in the past as well. “We have a special cell in the Pentagon that looks only after these matters and the US does not have this kind of arrangement with any other country,” he said. “US and India are the world’s largest two democracies with 1.6 billion people. If the two countries are close friends, then the world will be a safer and a prosperous place. There is a ripple effect,” Verma said. To a query on the US’ position on Pakistan as an “exporter of terrorism”, Verma said there has been condemnation of cross-border terrorism from their side. “The US has been speaking about condemnation of cross-border terrorism which has to end. We want to see that kind of unity in our relations with India. With Pakistan, it is complex, based on cross-border terrorism. With India it is on a different plane,” he said.Asked about the future of Indo-US relations under the new dispensation, he said, “In the coming years, US and India relations will continue as it is today.” “Relations between India and US is on an upward trajectory and irreversible. Indians settled in the US will continue be the natural bridge between the two countries,” Verma said. “We believe it is the strategic interest of the US to see a stronger India. We strongly believe in that,” he said.On the economic front, he said US was the largest trading partner of India with two-way trade hovering at USD 100 billion. There were 500 US companies in India and 100 Indian companies in the US, he said. Verma was in the city to attend a seminar on regional connectivity where participants from Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Thailand were present, besides USA and India. He also said US was ready to share its best practices on dealing with border security to help countries in protecting their citizens.

Indian defence forces to be under ‘US scrutiny’: CPI(M)

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian defence forces and defence production would be “open to scrutiny” and “control” by the United States which will make India its “junior ally” following finalisation of the ‘Major Defense Partner’ designation, CPI(M) has alleged.Noting that the US has placed the details of ‘Major Defense Partner’ designation for Senate approval as part of FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the party said the Narendra Modi government “has not even made a statement in Parliament about such a significant deal.” “The country can see the US side of the deal by reading the 2017 NDAA, but remains ignorant of the Indian commitment as a ‘Major Defense Partner’ of the United States,” CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said.In a letter to the Prime Minister, he referred to Paragraph (E) of Section 1292 of 2017 NDAA, “which talks of ‘mechanisms to verify the security of defense articles, defense services, and related technology, such as appropriate cyber security and end user monitoring agreements’ for items and technologies sold to India. “Paragraph (F) thereafter states that India will align its ‘export control and procurement regimes with those of the United States’.”Yechury further said, “Paragraph(I) of Section 1292, 2017 NDAA makes the facts amply clear. It explicitly highlights enhanced ‘defense and security cooperation with India in order to advance United States interests in South Asia and greater Indo-Asia-Pacific regions’.” “This is, sadly, a commitment by your government to become a junior ally of the US in our own neighbourhood. This represents the final nail in the coffin of India’s independent foreign policy,” Yechury said in his letter to Modi.He said, “These are significant concessions made by your government which will make Indian defence forces open to American scrutiny, and Indian defence production under the control of the United States of America.” “Serious apprehensions arise about your government compromising India’s sovereignty and strategic autonomy,” the CPI(M) leader said, quoting the US statement as saying that the ‘Major Defense Partner’ designation was a status unique to India” and brings “India to a level at par with that of the United States’ closest allies and partners”.”This is a significant departure from India’s long- standing policy on defence relations and it has been done without taking Parliament into confidence,” Yechury said.

Why import duty waived on wheat, opposition asks government

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Side-stepping from the everyday ruckus on demonetization in the Rajya Sabha, the opposition attacked the government on Fridayfor completely waiving off import duty on wheat, the main Rabi crop that currently is being sown.CPM leader Sitaram Yechury raised the matter in zero hour and said, he had given a notice under rule 267 to suspend business of the day to discuss the decision that will “ruin Indian farmers” while MNCs will rake in super-profits.Calling it a shameful act, Yechury said, it will lead to food riots. “This is against the interest of the nation and its farmers. It is an anti-national act,” Yechury added.Joined in by Congress, BSP, SP, JDU and other Left members, he said the move to slash import duty on wheat from 10 per cent to zero at a time when the country has enough buffer stock will hit the farmers’ hard.The move ahead of the winter wheat crop will help MNCs to dump cheap wheat from US, France and Ukraine, opposition members alleged.Allay allegations, union minister for food and public distribution Ram Vilas Paswan responded by claiming there was no shortage of wheat in the country and the decision has been taken to care of the domestic prices which have shown an upward trend in recent weeks.“There is no shortage of wheat, our buffer stocks are full….This is a temporary decision which the government has taken because there are indicators of rise in wheat prices due to hoarding,” Paswan said. The government has assured the farmers that it will buy all the wheat they want to sell are raised MSP price of Rs. 1625 per quintal, added Paswan.However, sources in the agriculture ministry said, the import duty has been waived off to create enough buffer stocks as there are indicators that wheat sowing has taken a hit because of demonetization and the hoarders may create further scarcity to reap benefits.

Demonetisation logjam: Uproar continues in Rajya Sabha as Opposition corners Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Rajya Sabha on Friday witnessed its first adjournment of the day amid Opposition parties pronouncing the ruling dispensation as anti-farmer, anti-poor government over the demonetization issue, which has plagued the Parliamentary proceedings since day one.The Opposition parties raised slogan against the government. “kisan virodhi, gareeb virodhi, yeh sarkar nahi chalegi” (We will not accept this government which is anti-farmer and anti-poor) .Communist Party of India (Marxist), leader Sitaram Yechury while addressing the Rajya Sabha said that the demonetization are ruining the lives of farmers. Lashing out at the Government, Yechury said, “You (Centre) will have to agree that this decision (Of demonetization) is against the nation.”Echoing similar sentiments, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati advised the government to rethink the decision of demonetization.”Govt needs to rethink on demonetization or farmers will have to bear huge losses, they’ll be ruined,” said Mayawati.Meanwhile, tolerating the ire of the opposition Union Min of Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan clarified in the Rajya Sabha that the nation has surplus food grain.”We have enough food grain,” said Paswan.

No tax proposal can be adopted without Parliament nod: Yechury

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The CPI(M) today objected to the notification to waive service tax on debit and credit card transactions of up to Rs 2,000, saying no tax proposal can be adopted without being approved by Parliament.”No taxation proposal can be implemented, except being approved by Parliament. It is a clear violation of parliamentary norms and procedures…. No tax proposal can be made anywhere else but in Parliament,” CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury told a press conference here. He said “all matters relating to withdrawal from or accrual to the Consolidated Fund of India …. cannot be carried out without Parliament’s nod. “In this case, the Consolidated Fund will receive less on account of service tax waiver because of the Prime Minister’s approval to it. This cannot be done.”Yechury’s party colleague and Lok Sabha member Mohd Salim said service tax was passed by Parliament as part of the budget proposal. “So if any changes have to be made in it, it has to be made in Parliament.” Referring to today’s notification which was also tabled in Parliament, Salim said, “Never in history has any government been so fast that a notification is tabled in Parliament on the same day it has been gazetted.” The notification has been published in the Gazette of India today itself.To a question on the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Salim said “it shows the government’s lack of trustworthiness as the measure has not been listed in Parliament’s agenda for next week, which is the last in this session.” The Winter Session was “advanced on the pretext of passing the GST but there is no reference to it in the government’s agenda,” Salim said. Yechury claimed there was “no agreement” between the Centre and the states in the GST Council. He said all the state Finance Ministers have reported revenue losses to states as “people are not buying anything due to demonetization”.

Demonetization: Opposition MPs protests outside Parliament

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing concern over the plight of common man, MPs of various opposition parties led by Rahul Gandhi on Monday staged a protest against the government on the demonetization issue in front of Parliament as part of the ‘Jan Aakrosh Divas’ observed across the country.However, no MP from Trinamool Congress, JD(U), SP and BSP, BJD were seen at the joint Opposition dharna outside Parliament though they raised their voices against the move in the House.Besides the Congress vice-president, many senior party leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Veerappa Moily along with JP Yadav of RJD, Supriya Sule of NCP, Kanimozhi of DMK and Mohd Salim of CPI(M) participated in the protest near Gandhi statute.Raising slogans, the MPs demanded steps to ease the problems being faced by the people due to the demonetization drive. “There is anger against demonetization which is reflecting from Parliament to street. In the name of fighting black money, poor have been made to suffer while rich people have been let off,” RJD MP JP Yadav alleged.Congress leader Moily termed the Modi government’s move was a “fake fight and not a genuine fight against black money. Black money is a cause of corruption. But where is the fight against corruption? What happened to Lokpal?” he asked and added the money in circulation cannot be called black money. “We are interested in discussion. PM must come to the House to explain,” he said.Scindia said, “It has happened for the first time in the world that one cannot draw one’s own money. So we are raising the common man’s voice outside and inside Parliament.” Asked about parties holding protests separately, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said, “There is no division among opposition. All parties may march separately but they are striking together. Parliament is not functioning because PM is no coming to the House.”

DNA poll: Do you support the Opposition’s agitation against demonetization?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition parties including AAP, BSP, TMC and Congress have been extremely vocal against the demonetization move. CPI (M) general secretary Yechury said: “The government is answerable to the Parliament; the parliamentarians are answerable to the people (and) that is the meaning of the Constitution beginning with the words ‘We the people’. The Prime Minister is abdicating his responsibility of answerability to the Parliament (and) that is why this disruption. If there is anybody today disrupting the House, it is the Prime Minister and this government refusing to answer.” Rahul Gandhi describing it as the world’s “biggest impromptu financial experiment” and said they are firm on their demand for a JPC probe into the “scam”. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said: “I can challenge that no one will vote for BJP. If I were you (PM), I would have apologised to the public. Why you are so egoistic? You have branded everyone in the country a black marketeer and have yourself turned into a saint.” So what do you think of the move? Do you support PM Modi’s move? Or do you agree with the opposition? Tell us: Do you support the Opposition’s agitation against demonetization?Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha today closed ranks to demand Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence in the House to reply to the debate on hardships caused by his decision to ban old 500 and 1000 rupee notes, forcing adjournment of proceedings twice. The uproarious scenes led to the adjournment of the proceedings first till noon and then till 1400 hours.
ALSO READ Decoding by-election results: Demonetization fails to dampen BJP’s fortune BSP leader Mayawati went to the extent of seeking an apology from Modi for speaking outside the House when Parliament is in session, while the Congress demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to go into the “sudden announcement” of demonetization of 86 per cent of the currency in circulation.While the BJP members too shouted slogans seeking resumption of discussion on the issue that started on November 16, opposition members led by Congress and TMC trooped into the Well of the House raising slogans demanding that Prime Minister be called to the House, forcing Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to adjourn the proceedings till 1200 hours.Soon after obituary references and laying of the listed papers, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said when the Prime Minister says the demonetization decision was taken in national interest, why is no compensation being paid to over 75 people who died because of hardships caused by it.Naresh Agarwal (SP) said if Prime Minister does not have the time to come to the House, arrangements should be made for an online interface, an oblique reference to Modi using video conferencing to address events held in far-off places.Mayawati (BSP) sought the Chair’s protection in getting Prime Minister to speak on the issue inside the House and not outside when the Parliament is in session.By speaking outside, he has “insulted” the House and breached its privilege, she alleged and added: “Prime Minister should be called to the House… he must apologise why he is speaking outside.”Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said Modi was violating the Consitution by not answering questions in the institution (Parliament) he is accounatable to.Anand Sharma (Cong) said even during financial emergency, the government cannot restrict citizens from accessing their own bank accounts like the way severe restrictions have been imposed on withdrawal from own account after the November 8 decision.”He has created financial anarchy. Prime Minister must come” and answer questions on hardships caused, he said.Naresh Agarwal (SP) alleged that since even Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was not taken into confidence, he may not be able to reply to the debate on the issue. So the Chair should call Prime Minister to the House, he added. Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) said Prime Minister cannot make statements on policy decisions outside the House when Parliament is in session and went on to ask the Chair to give a ruling on Modi repeatedly speaking outside the House. Soon Congress members trooped into the Well, carrying placards saying “We want JPC on demonetization”.Kurien asked members to resume the debate started last week, suggesting that all points the Opposition has been raising can be mentioned there.”How do you know Prime Minister will may not come… Start the discussion, Prime Minister may come,” he said.But the members were unrelenting, forcing him to adjourn the proceedings till 1200 hours.Soon after the House met at noon, Chairman Hamid Ansari asked members to allow the Question Hour to be taken up but a vociferous opposition created uproar and rushed to the Well again raising slogans.Members from Congress, TMC, Left, DMK, NCP, SP and BSP demanded the presence of Prime Minister in the House and asked the Chairman to do so before the discussion on demonetization was resumed.”Prime Minister should be called to the House, this is the sense of the House,” said Naresh Agarwal (SP), with other members joining him to urge the Chairman to ask for the PM’s presence.”Don’t get into all this. Please allow the Question Hour to run. Let us get on with the Question Hour,” Ansari said, with a resounding ‘No’ from the opposition benches.As pandemonium prevailed in the House amid opposition members shouting slogans in the Well, which was countered by some members of the treasury benches.The Chairman’s pleas fell on deaf ears as opposition members continued with their uproar, forcing the Chairman to adjourn the House till 2 PM.

Parliament logjam: Plan to move contempt notice against PM Modi, says Sitaram Yechury

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “deliberate attempt” of abstaining from either of the Houses despite his presence in the Parliament Complex amounts to an “utter contempt” of Parliament, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Tuesday said they are examining a possibility of moving a contempt notice against him for refusing to be answerable to Parliament.Noting that when Parliament is in session, the Prime Minister everyday goes on speaking outside, but not inside Parliament, he said this amounts to contempt of Parliament.”If the Prime Minister refuses to be answerable to Parliament; if he can give public speeches everyday but does not come to Parliament to speak; he is in the Parliament Complex, but doesn’t come to either of the Houses. This is an utter contempt of Parliament and we are examining a possibility of moving a contempt notice against the Prime Minister for refusing to be answerable to Parliament,” said CPI general secretary holding a press conference.”Our point is, the discussion that began in the Rajya Sabha was a discussion on the announcement made by the Prime Minister on the withdrawal (demonetization) of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes. So, when there is a discussion on the announcement made by the Prime Minister, he should be available to hear the discussion and respond, and that he is not doing,” he said.”If the House is not functioning, singularly the blame is on the Prime Minister and his arrogance of not wanting to face Parliament,” said Yechury, adding that if the Prime Minister refuses to be answerable to Parliament, then there is actually complete constitutional breakdown and that is what is happening.”In our constitutional scheme of things, people are supreme in terms of sovereignty and that sovereignty is exercised by making the government accountable to Parliament and the parliamentarians being accountable to the people and that is how ‘we the people’ is exercised. Secondly, it is a normal practice in the parliamentary democracy and a practice that we have followed in India all along. If the Prime Minister makes an announcement outside Parliament, before Parliament meets, it is incumbent on the Prime Minister that on the opening day of Parliament to come to both Houses and explain the decision, but it is not done,” said Yechury.”We are consulting all the opposition parties on it (moving a contempt notice). We want to do it unitedly and jointly with the opposition parties. But we consider that this merits absolute considerations,” he said.”And secondly, we are also examining that after the President of India summons Parliament, can the Prime Minister or executive make a policy announcement outside Parliament? According to us, they should not. But that is happening,” he added.Proceedings in both Houses were disrupted for the fourth day today on the demonetization issue, with both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha being adjourned for the day.Opposition and treasury bench members traded charges on demonetization. As soon as the Lok Sabha met for the day, leader of the opposition Mallikarjun Kharge demanded suspension of the question hour to take up discussion on demonetization, which was rejected by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.Opposition members, including Congress, TMC, NCP and SP trooped into the well of the House shouting slogans. Amid the din, the Speaker tried to conduct the Question Hour.Parliamentary Affairs minister Ananth Kumar said the government is ready for holding discussion and pleaded with the Opposition members to go back to their seats.The Rajya Sabha witnessed noisy scenes with the Opposition demanding Prime Minister Modi’s presence in the House and payment of compensation to those who reportedly died of trauma, while queuing up before banks and ATMs following demonetization of high value currency notes.The House witnessed four adjournments in the pre-lunch session. Members of the Congress Party repeatedly trooped into the well, displaying placards. Chairman Mohd Hamid Ansari adjourned the House for the day as the pandemonium continued.

Demonetisation: Rajya Sabha adjourned twice after Oppn asks for resolution condoling deaths over move

New Delhi: A united Opposition on Monday forced two adjournments in Rajya Sabha in the pre-noon session, asserting that no discussion on demonetisation would take place till the House mourns the nearly 70 deaths caused by hardships due to the withdrawal of higher denomination currency notes.

While Congress, BSP, TMC and CPI(M) among others wanted a resolution condoling the deaths to come from the Chair, Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley charged the Opposition of running away from the demonetisation debate.

Slogan-shouting opposition members rushed into the well of the House, forcing Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien to first adjourn the proceedings till 1130 hours and then again till noon.

“Why are they (opposition parties) running away from debate,” Jaitley asked. “This is clear now that the opposition is not ready for debate and is coming up with new excuses to disrupt the House.”

Stating that the notice for suspension of business under Rule 267 was accepted on first day of the winter session and a debate had started, he said the reported deaths could come up during the course of this debate and the reply to it.

No sooner did the House mourn the death of 130 persons in the derailment of Indore-Patna Express near Kanpur on Sunday, than Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said that an obituary reference condoling the death of 70 people due to hardships caused by the demonetisation should be moved by the Chair.

He was supported by Mayawati (BSP) who said people have died standing in queues because of hunger, want of medicines and waiting for currency for marriage.

Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad (Cong) said while condolences have been expressed for those killed in Sunday’s train accident, the same should be done for the 70 people who have lost their lives in last 15 days.

“They are also citizens of this country. We want such an obituary reference to come from the Chair,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Narenda Modi should also come to the House for the debate.

Kurien said if the members were ready, the discussion on demonetisation issue can resume immediately. “I would like to make it very clear that the Chair is ready for discussion if you are ready,” he said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Stating that 11 bank employees were among the 70 who lost their lives, Yechury asked the Chair to take the opinion of the House on moving a resolution condoling their death. He said the debate could be held after the obituary reference is made by the Chair.

Kurien however virtually ruled it out saying “condolences are not done on demand. That has to come spontaneously. You can approach the Chairman (on that).”

To this, Yechury said “take consensus of the House”. At this point, opposition Congress, BSP and TMC members rushed into the Well shouting slogans.

Narendra Modi sharam karo, sharam karo (shame on Narendra Modi)”, “Modi sadan mein jawab do (Modi please reply in the House)”, “poonjiwadio ki yeh sarkar nahi chalegi (this government of capitalists will not be tolerated)”, “Jan virodhi Narendra Modi sharma karo, sharam karo (shame on anti-people Narendra Modi),” they shouted.

TMC members carried placards with “Financial Emergency” written. Kurien then adjourned the proceedings till 1130 hours.

No sooner did Deputy Chairman Kurien occupy the Chair and called Dilip Tirkey (BJD) to start his Zero Hour mention, Congress members trooped into the Well.

Kurien suggested that members could continue the discussion on demonetisation of currency, but Congress members kept shouting slogans and other opposition members were seen standing on the aisles.

Amid din, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi too pitched for continuation of the debate. “Many members want to speak (on the demonetisation),” he said.

Yechury (CPI-M) again asked the Chair for an obituary reference for those who died while standing in queues outside banks due to the demonetisation move.

Kurien said there is a procedure for such references and suggested that the members to approach Rajya Sabha Chairman.

“What is the authenticity of numbers (of dead) you are speaking,” he said, adding that obituary references cannot be taken up suo motu.

As Naqvi pressed for continuation of the debate on currency notes, the vociferous protests continued while BJP members kept shouting “We want discussion. We want discussion”. Kurien then adjourned the House till noon.

As soon as House met at noon for the Question Hour, Opposition members again rose from their seats and started shouted slogans over demonetisation of currency.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari asked the members to let the Question Hour continue, but the Opposition did not relent.

Members including those from the Congress, TMC and BSP were seen standing along their seats with many of them shouting slogans.

Following the din in the House, Ansari adjourned the proceedings for the third time on Monday for 30 minutes.

When Rajya Sabha reassembled at 1234 hours, Opposition members rose from their seats raising slogans over the demonetisation issue.

Ansari tried to pacify the members so that the Question Hour could be taken up but his efforts were futile.

Members including those from the Congress, TMC and BSP were seen standing along their seats and several were seen shouting anti-government slogans.

Amidst the din, Naqvi shouted “the sense of the country is against black money. Sense of the country is in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.

As the uproar continued, the House was adjourned till 1400 hours.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 13:14 IST

Jaitley ‘misled’ Parliament, NPAs are big scam: Yechury

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CPI(M) on Thursday took on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley alleging he “misled” the Parliament and whole country on FCRA and NPAs and accused the government of practising “crony capitalism”.CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said the party will also move a resolution for constitution of JPC on demonetisation crisis as “prior information was with some people” before the announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8. Describing the NPAs as “big scam”, he said “It has risen two times in the last two years and conviction of wilful defaulters have come down. The government is involved in crony capitalism.”Referring to yesterday’s reply of Jaitley in the House, Yechury said “What Finance Minister said on NPAs was wrong. Finance Minister said that writing off debt is not writing off the loan as it still remains in the book and banks can make attempts to recover it.” He quoted “RBI guidelines” to prove Jaitley’s observation on NPAs wrong and said there is a clear RBI guidelines on performing assets becoming NPAs. Since there will be no incentives the banks will not go after loan recovery after writing off debts, Yechury said.
ALSO READ DNA Exclusive: SBI writes off loans of 63 wilful defaultersYesterday, the CPI(M) leader said in the Rajya Sabha that SBI waived off Rs 7000 crore from their Non-Performing Assets (NPAs), of loans which are not being returned. Intervening, Jaitley had said, “Written off does not mean waiver…. It does not mean that the loan ceases to be a loan. We will still chase the loan, the entry in the book changes that is from being performing assets, it become a non-performing.”Attacking the government, Yechury said “In the last two years Rs 1,12,078 cr debt has been written off and they are saying they will still recover and pursue it.” He said the CPI(M) will move a resolution when the time will come for JPC. On FCRA, he said “It was amended through Finance Bill in the 2016 budget which was wrong. Finance Minister misled Parliament and the whole country.” CPM leader Mohd Salim said,”There was a selective leak of demonetisation move and prior information was available with some people.This is a serious charge and we want formation of JPC to go into this,”

Write-off: Will SBI’s change in terminology really help recover bad loans?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a recent internal meeting of the SBI, it was decided to drop the term “write-off” and instead use the phrase Advance Under Collection Account (AUCA) for all toxic loans pending with industrial houses. But the question here is whether the mere changing of the term will amount to the recovery of the hefty outstanding loans owed to the bank.In the aftermath of DNA’s exclusive report on Wednesday, which revealed that the government bank had written off loans of 63 wilful defaulters, including Rs 1,200 crore of Kingfisher Airlines; SBI chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said on Wednesday that the term “write off” was confusing.”No let off of borrowers happened and all processes are focused for full recovery. The words “write off” are technical terms and (if) used in the layman’s way of understanding, these words are completely misleading,” she said.Yes, the SBI has perused it. Let’s look into the last one-year write-off and recovery outcomes. In the first quarter of the financial year 2017, ‘write-off’ (transfer to AUCA) amount was Rs 4,613 crore and the recovery in the same period was of Rs 526 crore. Thus, they could have recovered only 11 per cent of the write-off amount in the first quarter of the financial year 2017.The change was also confirmed by internal documents available with DNA which say SBI is now “replacing the term write-off with transfer to AUCA and write-off transferred to AUCA” with “Accounts transferred to AUCA” consequent upon change in nomenclature”. However, the same document shows that for writing of other losses like fraud and dacoity, the term ‘write-off’ will continue to be used.AUCA is known as an NPA reduction tool where banks are enabled to clean their toxic loan from balance sheets. The SBI has clearly mentioned that “the main advantage of the bank will have by transfer to AUCA is that our gross NPA amount and net additions in NPAs during the quarter will be reduced to the extent of the amount transfer to AUCA”.The document also added that the bank’s claim of recovery process will carry on, on the ground level and if any recovery takes place from such borrowers it will directly contribute to the bank’s profit.Thanks to the DNA report, the term “write-off” caused problems for the government in Parliament on Wednesday. FM Arun Jaitley said that bad loans that had been written-off did not mean that banks would not pursue them.”There is a little bit of malapropism involved in this. Don’t go by the literal meaning of write-off. Write-off does not mean loan waiver. The loan still remains. We still continue to pursue them,” the FM said in response to CPM leader Sitaram Yechury. Yechury had referred to the DNA report while questioning the FM on the same.

‘Desperate’ Mamata attempting to hide scams in WB: Left

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat on Monday took potshots at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for calling up her party’s general secretary Sitaram Yechury to join hands against the government’s demonetization move and said that this was a desperate move on part of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief as her government is involved in several scams including the Saradha chit-fund case.”The TMC is taking all these measures against the demonetization endeavour because Bengal is neck deep in corruption courtesy scams like the Saradha,” Karat told ANI.The CPI (M) politburo member also used the occasion to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his emotional appeal made to the nation and said that the former’s tears is not a matter of concern but it is the sorrows of the common man which is perturbing.”Who should we look at Prime Minister’s Modi’s tears or the tears of the common man? We have demanded that the old notes should be allowed to work till December end. I don’t understand this drama of the Prime Minister,” she said.The TMC supremo created a buzz earlier on Sunday by calling up Yechury to join hands against the BJP-led NDA regime’s demonetization move.On November 8, Prime Minister Modi announced demonetisation of currency notes in a major assault on black money, fake currency and corruption.

Pakistan’s isolation has to be political, economic, diplomatic and cultural: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said on Sunday that Communist Party of India Marxist CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury needs to realise that isolation needs to take place in totality, including political, economical, diplomatic and cultural.This comment comes a day after Yechury said that art and sports should be kept outside political conflicts in reference to the banning of Pakistan artistes in India.”I would like to tell Sitaram Yechury ji that when you are trying to declare to declare Pakistan a terror state and isolate a country, the isolation has to happen in totality. It has to be political, economical, diplomatic and cultural. You can’t have exceptions to this rule,” BJP spokesperson Shaina NC said.Yechury said on Saturday that art and sports should be kept outside politics and that action should be taken against an artist or sportsman only if there is “specific information” suggesting that they are trying to do something against the country.His statement came after the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association has banned Pakistani actors, singers and technicians from working on Indian films.Presently, tensions between the two neighbour countries have escalated after terrorists attacked an Indian army base camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir last month that killed 19 Indian soldiers.Following the attack, the Indian Army carried out surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) claiming to destroy seven terror launch pads. Pakistan however, denied the claims of “surgical strikes” and said there was only cross border firing between the two forces.

India United: Leaders at all-party meet laud Indian army

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Top leaders of political parties were briefed by the government about the surgical strike carried out by the Army on terror launching pads across the LoC to foil plans of terrorists to target some Indian towns.Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said after the hour-long meeting that all political parties unanimously supported the Army action, which was carried at 5-6 important places across LoC along Kupwara and Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir at an altitude of 6,000 feet and some of these terror launch pads were destroyed.”The Home Minister explained the all-party meeting about the surgical strike which was carried out by the Army to foil attempts by terrorists to carry out attack not only in Jammu and Kashmir but some other important towns,” he told reporters.The Army action came in the aftermath of terror attack in Uri on September 18 in which 18 soldiers were killed. Naidu said the terrorists had carried out strike from these launching pads and they had plans to do the same in future too. “Government and the Army had reports that the terrorists had plans to infiltrate again and create havoc in Jammu and Kashmir and some other places,” he said. After the successful operation, the Army personnel had returned to their respective bases without suffering any casualty, he said adding further details would be available later. The Minister said Representatives of Congress, NCP, CPI(M), BSP, Shiv Sena, LJSP AND TDP complimented the Indian Army action and assured the government of their support in any action in future. Those who attended the meeting include Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP) and Ram Vilas Paswan (LJSP). BJP President Amit Shah, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar besides the Home Minister and Naidu attended the meeting. Naidu said the surgical strike was carried out as Pakistan was not mending its ways and testing India’s patience. Director General of Military Operations Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh briefed the all-party meeting. The all-party meeting was convened to inform political parties across the board of the action taken by the Army. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had briefed President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of the surgical strikes. Chief Ministers of various states, including Jammu and Kashmir, were also briefed about the latest development. Just before the all-party meeting, Swaraj had met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on the development. With today’s action, Naidu said Pakistan should realise that India would no longer tolerate incidents like Uri in future. “Our neighbour is aiding, abetting and funding terrorism,” the minister said. He also said the entire country is very happy with today’s action undertaken under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi. Responding to a question on Pakistan denial of Indian action in PoK, Naidu said “what else can they say.” In a series of tweets, Rajnath Singh, who chaired the all-party meeting, congratulated the Army on successful counter terrorism operations against terror groups and their launching pads. “We are proud of our armed forces. They have once again exhibited exemplary courage and valour by destroying the anti India designs. I also congratulate the Prime Minister on taking a bold decision and showing true grit and mettle in crucial times,” he said. Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad that they congratulated the Army for the “very good, successful operation”. “We have been told that there were heavy casualties on the other side and there was no harm to our soldiers and they returned back safe. We will support all action of the security forces so that terrorism comes to an end and Pakistan does not support any terror activity from its soil,” he said. Yechury said that his party supported the Army action but felt that military action is not the answer and talks should resume between the two neighbours.

Uri effect: Parliamentary Panel on Home Affairs to review border security

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Against the backdrop of Uri terror attack and heightened tensions with Pakistan, the Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs on Wednesday decided to take up urgently the review of border security as well as internal security capabilities.The newly-reconstituted committee, headed by former Home Minister P Chidambaram, which met here today for the first time, decided to have meetings on October 6 and 13 to discuss such subjects, sources told PTI here.On October 13, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi are expected to attend the meeting of the committee, the sources said. At the first meeting of the committee which was to decide on subjects to be taken up, opposition members pressed to discussing urgently the issues of border security and internal security in the country against the backdrop of Uri terror attack which has triggered tensions between India and Pakistan. “There are aspects which cannot wait,” a source said.The aspects to be reviewed include capacity of the paramilitary forces and police forces and status of the National Counter terrorism Centre (NCTC) and NATGRID which were supposed to strengthen the internal security, the sources said. The opposition members, including Derek O’Brien of Trinamool Congress, Sitaram Yechury of CPI(M), wanted to know about the proposal of police modernisation which has been hanging fire for long, the sources said. Chidambaram then told the meeting that the Finance Ministry had not released funds for it and thus the proposal was held up, the sources said.

Yechury demands action against BJP-linked group for ‘brazenly misusing’ govt offices

New Delhi: CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday demanded that the Cente take action against a BJP-linked outfit for “brazenly misusing” government offices, including that of the External Affairs Ministry, in Malaysia to claim “official” support for its “unofficial” Yoga Day event.

Sitaram Yechury. Photo: Naresh Sharma | Firstpost

Sitaram Yechury. Photo:
Naresh Sharma | Firstpost

Yechury had earlier raised objections to the outfit, Overseas Friends of BJP, Malaysia, making such a declaration through a poster and written to External Affairs Minister Swaraj, who said the flyer was later withdrawn.

In his fresh letter to Swaraj over the issue, the Rajya Sabha MP demanded that she “strongly” conveys to BJP and its affiliates that they should not “misuse” such government initiatives or programmes for their own “partisan propaganda”.

“I appreciate that following your intervention the flyer issued by the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) has been withdrawn.

“Drawing from this episode, I hope you are taking the next logical step to punish, in accordance with law, those who have so brazenly misused the offices of your ministry and mission in Malaysia,” Yechury said in the letter.

He added, “I am sure that you would strongly convey to the BJP and its affiliates that they should not misuse such government initiatives/programmes for their own partisan propaganda.”

In response to Yechury’s first letter, dated 8 June, to her in this regard, Swaraj had said the OFBJP was “keen to contribute” to the International Yoga Day event being organised by Indian High Commission in Malaysia on 19 June at Cheras Indoor Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.

“Their (of the OFBJP) enthusiasm, while understandable, has however, made them to inaccurately project the event as being led by them and supported by the High Commission and Government Ministries. The flyer since has been withdrawn,” she had said.

In the initial letter, Yechury had taken strong objections to the organisation’s claim of having Indian government’s support for its “unofficial” Yoga Day event and demanded Swaraj to conduct “proper” probe in the matter.

He had also sought the issue of the outfit making such a declaration through a poster to be discussed during meeting of the Ministry’s Consultative Committee, of which the Marxist leader is a member.

Centre should be more proactive to secure Judith D’Souza’s release: WB Congress chief

Kolkata: West Bengal Pradesh Congress President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Sunday urged the Centre to put pressure on the Afghanistan government for securing the release of an Indian woman aid worker abducted by unidentified gunmen in the Afghan capital.

“We have friendly relations with Afghanistan. The central government should be more proactive to secure the release of Judith and should put pressure on the Afghan government. I have sent a letter to the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and National Security Adviser (Ajit Doval),” Adhir said.

File image of Judith D'Souza. PTI

File image of Judith D’Souza. PTI

Judith D’Souza, 40, working with Aga Khan Foundation, an NGO, was kidnapped on Thursday night while she was returning home after a dinner at a friend’s place in the Qala-e-Fatullah area of Kabul.

A Communitst Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) delegation led by its General Secretary Sitaram Yechury met members of D’Souza’s family during the day.

“Our mission in Kabul, the government and the organisation with whom she works are apparently in touch with the family. Everybody is making all their efforts. We have met members of her family and expressed our solidarity,” said Yechury, who is also the member of the Consultative Committee of the Ministry of External Affairs.

“We conveyed (to them) anything that they require in terms of putting pressure on the government and eliciting information from our mission, as a member of the consultative committee, I will be available to do that.”

D’Souza’s family members, however, lauded the efforts of the government.

“Both the Indian Embassy in Kabul and MEA are updating us twice a day and they updated us on the process of release that is taking place. Likewise, the organisation is also updating us,” said Judith’s brother Jerome D’Souza.

“Some of the efforts are shared with us, but some are not, due to obvious reasons. Huge efforts are being made by the government to bring back my sister,” he said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction but it is feared that she may have been kidnapped by a criminal gang in Kabul motivated by ransom, according to Afghan officials.

Abductions for ransom in Afghanistan are common and criminal gangs have made millions of dollars from kidnapping foreign nationals.

Yoga Day: Sitaram Yechury writes to Sushma Swaraj on BJP-linked outfit’s claim of having govt support

Raising objections to a BJP-linked Malaysia-based outfit’s claim of having Indian Government’s “official” support for its “unofficial” International Yoga Day event, CPI(M) has approached External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, seeking “proper” probe into the matter.In his June 8 letter to Swaraj, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also sought the issue of the outfit, Overseas Friends of BJP, Malaysia, making such a declaration through a poster to be discussed during meeting of the Ministry’s Consultative Committee, of which he is a member. The poster, Yechury said, declares the organisation’s June 19 event is being supported by High Commission of India, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Ayush and Indian Council of Cultural Relations.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Supporting activities abroad that strengthen public opinion in those countries about India and spread goodwill is understandable. But so far as I have known, the Government of India or its Commissions abroad or any of its other arms and institutions do not support the declared activities of political parties abroad. . . I think this is a very serious matter that needs to be properly investigated,” Yechury said in the letter.The Rajya Sabha member further said that there have been complaints in the past of how the ruling party at the Centre has allegedly used subtle methods to promote activities of its affiliates in some countries.”But what we see here is a brazen effort and the public declaration that a voluntary unofficial event is being officially supported by your ministry, its mission in Malaysia and other organisations of the government of India,” Yechury said and demanded the issue be discussed when the Committee meets next.According to its website, the Overseas Friends of BJP, Malaysia is an outfit that works for “projecting a positive and correct image of India and its people in that country and foreign media, and correct any distortions in the media’s reporting of current events taking place in India”.

CPI(M) slams Modi govt’s ‘gaudy’ anniversary celebrations

CPI(M) on Monday targeted NDA government over its “bombastic” claims and “very gaudy” celebrations marking its two years in office, saying the period rather saw people reel under “economic disaster”.”The two years of BJP Modi government have been observed through very gaudy celebrations, making very bombastic claims. “On the contrary, reality is that the livelihood condition of majority of Indians has deteriorated further…There is an economic disaster rather than any cause for celebrations,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said. He made the remarks while addressing reporters after conclusion of the two-day Politburo meeting of the Left party.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Marxist leader reiterated his party’s allegations against the government of launching a three-pronged attack on people by pursuing aggressive communal agenda, practicing neo-liberal economic policies and undermining democratic institutions “running roughshod over democratic rights and civil liberties”. The Rajya Sabha member further sought to pick holes in government’s promise of generating two crore jobs annually, saying the tenure saw creation of “only few new jobs”. He also claimed the two-year period saw the “worst decline in exports in 63 years” and prices of pulses soared by 30 per cent, affecting the common man.He said the Jan Dhan Yojana too was as a “failure”, given 27 per cent accounts have zero balance in them, while 33 per cent of them are “duplicate”. Yechury also expressed concern saying agrarian crisis deepened during the NDA rule until now with 2,997 farmers committing suicide last year, while 116 others in January-March 2016. 54 crore people from 13 states are “in the grip of drought”, he said, adding, 25 per cent of India’s rural inhabitations face drinking water crisis, and called for taking steps on a war-footing to see people get relief.”In this situation, we are calling upon the Modi government to take steps on a war-footing to take relief measures. There is no point in waiting for the rains to come and say it will resolve the problem automatically,” he said.Among other issues, Yechury claimed the RSS-BJP combine is “again” resorting to whipping up “communal passions” ahead of the 2017 UP Assembly elections and termed the alleged efforts as “the worst vote-bank politics”.”The Politburo of the CPI(M) strongly condemns such activities and demands that both the central government and the UP state government take strong action in accordance with the law of the land,” he said.On the issue of recent attacks on African nationals in the country, Yechury said, it is a matter of “grave concern”, and added, such “racist attacks” undermine centuries-old ties between New Delhi and other African nations. “This has already assumed dimension of affecting diplomatic ties between India and African countries. The Central government must immediately intervene to ensure that stringent action is taken against the culprits and those propagating racist hatred,” he said.

Left accuses Modi govt of not ‘keeping promises’, ‘failing completely’ on economic front

Seeking to pooh-pooh Modi government’s performance in two years, Left parties Thursday accused it of “not keeping” its poll promises, “failing completely” on the economic front and pursuing “communal agenda aggressively”.Alleging the economy has “deteriorated” under the Narendra Modi, the parties said the “scary situation” is likely to prevail over the next three years too, given the government’s “committment” to pursuing neo-liberal economic policies and “communal and fascist agenda” of the RSS.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If you see, none of the promises they made has been implemented. And there is actually a deterioration in the economy as far as people are concerned and the burden on the people has increased, apart from the social tensions,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury alleged.Yechury reiterated his party’s charge against the government of launching a three-pronged attack on people: pursuance of “communal polarisation” to “convert” India into a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, implementation of neo-liberal economic policies and “undermining” country’s democratic institutions.CPI national secretary D Raja echoed his views and added the agrarian crisis “deepened” during the two years, with number of farmer suicides “going up” and unemployment seeing a “rise”.”The government failed despite a steep fall in crude oil price in the international market. Government failed to recover the economy,” he said.The Parliamentarian also sought to pick flaws in the government’s foreign policy, saying it “lacked transparency” and noted New Delhi’s ties with neighbours including Nepal witnessed “problems” even as the government, he added, was busy “trying to please the US”.”In foreign policy matter, the government was trying to please the US and there was no transparency in the foreign policy affairs and the relations with our neighbours should have improved a lot, but it hasn’t happened with Pakistan, Nepal, everywhere we have problems,” he said.On his part, Yechury underscored the need for launching “widespread and powerful” struggle against the government to defend their right to a “decent” livelihood and in defence of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.”This resistance must reach in this coming year to such levels as to reverse this disastrous course and defeat all efforts to negate our secular democratic foundations,” he said.

Kerala Elections 2016: Veteran Achuthanandan sidelined, CPI(M) picks P Vijayan as next CM

In a contentious decision, the CPI(M) central leadership has decided that Pinarayi Vijayan will be the next Chief Minister of Kerala. He has been chosen over former CM and 93-year-old veteran CPI(M) leader VS Achuthanandan. Both these two leaders have had acrimonious relationship in the past and now the central leadership has chosen Vijayan to become the CM of the state. LDF won a resounding mandate on Thursday winning 91 of the 140 seats. Both Vijayan and Achuthanandan were in the forefront of the campaign for LDF. Today, the central committee meeting took place in Trivandrum where party general secretary Sitaram Yechury was also present.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to ANI, the decision to chose Vijayan was conveyed to Achuthanandan, who left the meeting halfway. At 93,Velikkakath Sankaran Achuthanandan still had hopes of becoming the chief minister. One of Kerala’s most popular leaders, the veteran Marxist showed no fatigue as he campaigned, braving unprecedented heat in Kerala. He defeated 29-year-old VS Joy of Congress in Malampuzha by a huge margin of votes. 71 year old Vijayan has served as minister in the Kerala cabinet earlier. He was the general secretary of the state unit of CPI(M) from 1998-2015. He was inducted in CPI(M) politburo way back in 2002.

No privilege notice against Smriti Irani, says PJ Kurien

There is no privilege notice against HRD Minister Smriti Irani, Chairman of Rajya Sabha’s Privileges Committee P J Kurien said on Thursday dismissing reports that the panel decided to seek explanation from her over some remarks made during a House debate on the JNU row.Addressing the media a day after the Committee members had met in Parliament House, he said it was “not a meeting” of the committee as it did not meet the quorum requirement of at least five committee attending it.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We met but five members were not present. So it was not a committee meeting. Moreover there is no notice of privilege against Irani before the committee. So it is wrong to say that the panel has decided to seek an explanation from her over her remarks. There is no such decision,” he said.”Yesterday there was no meeting. There was some informal discussion. Whatever we informally said has been reported by the media as a decision of the committee. A member saying something is not a decision of the committee,” Kurien said.He said a notice of CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury regarding his having received threat calls after participating in a debate on JNU row is under consideration of the committee.In his letter to the Rajya Sabha Chairman last month, the CPI-M leader had written that the minister had made “baseless allegations” against him “imputing motives that are completely false”.Yechury had also enclosed pages from internet (in Telugu) suggesting threats to him and stated that considering “grievous nature of the allegations”. Since they are made on the floor of the House and recorded as part of proceedings, the intervention of the Rajya Sabha Chairman was sought said. He said that Yechury had given a privilege notice but that was about threat calls and not against Irani.Regarding the deposition of VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi before the panel yesterday about her controversial statement on “terrorists in Parliament”, Kurien said she appeared as a witness and it is not necessary to have a meeting of the committee to call a witness. He, however, declined to go into what was the response of Prachi when she appeared before the committee.After meeting the panel yesterday, Prachi had remained defiant and stuck to her remarks.

JNU row: No privilege notice against Smriti Irani, says PJ Kurien

New Delhi: There is no privilege notice against HRD Minister Smriti Irani, Chairman of Rajya Sabha’s Privileges Committee P J Kurien said on Thursday, dismissing reports that the panel decided to seek explanation from her over some remarks made during a House debate on the JNU row.

Addressing the media a day after the Committee members had met in Parliament House, he said it was “not a meeting” of the committee as it did not meet the quorum requirement of at least five committee attending it.

“We met but five members were not present. So it was not a committee meeting. Moreover there is no notice of privilege against Irani before the committee. So it is wrong to say that the panel has decided to seek an explanation from her over her remarks. There is no such decision,” he said.

A file photo of PJ Kurien. AFPA file photo of PJ Kurien. AFP

A file photo of PJ Kurien. AFP

“Yesterday there was no meeting. There was some informal discussion. Whatever we informally said has been reported by the media as a decision of the committee. A member saying something is not a decision of the committee,” Kurien said.

He said a notice of CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury regarding his having received threat calls after participating in a debate on JNU row is under consideration of the committee.

In his letter to the Rajya Sabha Chairman last month, the CPI-M leader had written that the minister had made “baseless allegations” against him “imputing motives that are completely false”.

Yechury had also enclosed pages from internet (in Telugu) suggesting threats to him and stated that considering “grievous nature of the allegations”. Since they are made on the floor of the House and recorded as part of proceedings, the
intervention of the Rajya Sabha Chairman was sought said.

He said that Yechury had given a privilege notice but that was about threat calls and not against Irani.

Regarding the deposition of VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi before the panel yesterday about her controversial statement on “terrorists in Parliament”, Kurien said she appeared as a witness and it is not necessary to have a meeting of the committee to call a witness.

He, however, declined to go into what was the response of Prachi when she appeared before the committee.

After meeting the panel yesterday, Prachi had remained defiant and stuck to her remarks.

‘Nationalism’ debate: Oppn slams BJP, says forcing ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ on Indians is replay of Hitler’s tactics

The nationalism debate escalated on Monday with opposition parties slamming BJP’s “insistence” on ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ as an “unfortunate replay” of Hitler’s tactics, prompting the ruling party to say opposing the slogan amounted to treason.

Sitaram Yechury. Firstpost/Naresh SharmaSitaram Yechury. Firstpost/Naresh Sharma

Sitaram Yechury. Firstpost/Naresh Sharma

The opposition parties also accused BJP of stoking the issue of nationalism to shroud its “failure” in keeping promises. The BJP on its part maintained that “opposing” Bharat Mata “for sure” falls in the category of treason and made a strong pitch for “instilling” feeling of nationalism as “some people” have habit of “eulogising” anti-nationalists like Afzal Guru. “Hindusthan Zindabad, Jai Hind and Inquilab Zindabad are nationalism. So, nationalism can be expressed in various forms.

The Times of India reports that a Hyderabad based Islamic seminary has issued a fatwa against chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki jai‘ because it goes against Islam’s fundamental tenet – that a believer prays only to Allah.

“Now to insist nationalism means only the slogan (Bharat Mata ki jai) that they want people to give is very very clearly an unfortunate replay of how (Adolf) Hitler used nationalism for the rise of fascism in Germany,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said. Rajya Sabha Opposition Leader Ghulam Nabi Azad ridiculed the BJP and said it should be the “last party” to talk about nationalism. He stated people of the country are “clever” and understand that the debate is allegedly being stoked to divert their attention from BJP’s “failure” in keeping poll promises of employment, development and price rise among others.

“But they have totally, miserably failed. So the only agenda left with them is to divert the attention of people from such issues,” the senior Congress leader added. JD(U) leader Pawan Verma seconded Azad and said the issue is being escalated also in view of forthcoming assembly polls in five states. AAP leader Ashutosh targeted the BJP, saying it had never taken part in country’s freedom struggle and hence, is “trying to wear” nationalism on its sleeves and forehead “to prove” its patriotism.

BSP leader Sudhindra Bhadoria also joined the chorus of attack, charging the BJP with holding “narrow and sectarian” views. Countering the opposition, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister and senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said there is a need to instil feeling of nationalism as “some people” have objections to chant ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ and have the “habit of eulogising” anti-nationalist like Afzal Guru and Yakub Memon.

“They are being eulogising, you are holding festivals for them and questioning unity, integrity and sovereignty of the country. So, there is a need to instil a feeling of nationalism. Why should anyone have objection on saluting motherland?” he asked and said he is ready to debate on the issue.

Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ is not a “certificate of nationalism”, but “opposing, abusing and criticising ‘Bharat Mata’ does fall under category of “treason”.

“It is not a certificate of nationalism to chant Bharat Mata ki jai. But opposing, abusing, criticising Bharat Mata for sure falls in the category of treason, this they should understand,” he said.

The BJP had yesterday said freedom of expression does not give a right to seek the country’s destruction even as the issue found the pride of place in the political resolution adopted at its National Executive meeting here.

With PTI

Air India Kolkata-Delhi flight delayed by 13 hours due to snag

An Air India flight from Kolkata to Delhi with 236 passengers including CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi after more than 13 hours delay due to a snag.Even a change of aircraft did not mitigate the suffering of the stranded passengers, with some of them accusing the state-run airline of misinforming them on the actual departure of the delayed flight.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Latest from @airindiain 701: flying 6:45 am – after 13 hrs spent on 2 diff aircraft with 2 diff boarding passes & a lot of lies,” a passenger tweeted today after the flight AI 701, which was scheduled to take off for Delhi at 5.30 pm last evening.”6 hrs of being inside AI 701, my 5m (baby) is on the floor as AI is clueless,” another passenger had tweeted earlier.Air India, however, said that it tried every thing to fly the stranded passengers to their destination at the earliest.”AI 701 (Kolkata-Delhi) had push back at 5.30 pm and after push back there was a snag. Engineers tried to rectify the snag. However, since the problem could not be resolved, the aircraft was declared grounded at 10.10 pm,” said an Air India spokesperson. He said the airline deplaned all the passengers as another Air India flight was landing at Kolkata airport at 1030 pm and it was decided to operate this incoming aircraft to Delhi.”Meanwhile, one of the pilots who was to operate the aircraft came under Flight Duty Time Limitation (FDTL) by the time the boarding of all passengers could have been completed. This forced the airline to reschedule the departure again to 6.30 am,” the spokesperson said.Since the flight was was to leave only at 6.30 am, passengers were requested to deplane and move to the terminal building, the spokesperson said. Sources said of the 236 passengers, 154 remained onboard while the rest including Yechury got down to take the early morning flight of other airlines.”Since the flight was delayed, I deboarded and left for the party office in Kolkata. I had dinner there and after having some rest came back to airport to catch the morning flight today,” Yechury said.Air India said that it is unfortunate that due to the snag the passengers were put to inconvenience but safety is paramount for the airline.”We deeply regret the inconvenience caused to the passengers, however, safety is paramount and hence the delay,” the spokesperson said.

Aadhar row: Govt assures about security concerns after Opposition raises it

After Aadhar Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, it was debated heatedly in the Rajya Sabha on the last day ahead of a long break in the budget session. The opposition questioned the government’s proposal to pass the bill. “I am questioning the competence of this house to legislate the bill,” Sitaram Yechury said. “We defend the integrity of this house,” he said. Yechury also questioned whether the Aadhar bill protected the privacy of the citizens. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per the Bill, information collected under Aadhaar may be disclosed in the interest of national security, or on the orders of a court.”What the information(UID) will be used for, what will be the purpose of the info, that was absent in the UPA legislation. The present law is completely different, it borrows UPA’s idea (UID), but the privacy law is much more tightened. Privacy not an absolute right, it is subject to a restriction that it can be restricted by a procedure established by law.”Just because a unlegislated executive government action is challenged before court, Parliament doesn’t lose its right to legislate. The core of this (UID) bill is government money being spent to ensure money reaches right person, insist on person’s identity,” said Jaitley.With regard to the Aadhar Bill, it is certain to sail through as, being a Money Bill, the upper house had to return it within a duration of 14 days or it is considered as passed.The Aadhar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill 2016 was passed in the Lok Sabha on Friday after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved the key bill for consideration.Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, had objected to the bill being introduced as a money bill, saying the Congress is ready to cooperate on the bill, but it should not come as a money bill. In response, Jaitley said the bill is substantially different from what the Opposition is talking about.He said the substance of the bill is that whoever gets subsidies will have to produce Aadhaar. The bill is aimed at giving statutory backing for transferring government subsidies and benefits to targeted people. It also lays down a regulatory framework to protect core biometric information of Aadhaar cardholders from any unauthorised disclosure or sharing. The bill is the key to the government’s plan to plug leakages in disbursal of subsidies and other services and in ensuring that these reach intended beneficiaries. The bill seeks to provide for good governance, efficient, transparent, and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services, the expenditure for which is incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India to individuals residing in India through assigning of unique identity numbers

Parliament Live: Privacy not an absolute right, says Arun Jaitley on Aadhaar Bill in Rajya Sabha

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The NGT on Tuesday questioned the Centre as to why no environmental clearance is needed for constructing temporary structures on Yamuna plains as building of pontoon bridge by army for cultural festival comes under the scanner of NGT. This was during a hearing on pleas seeking the cancellation of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living three-day ‘World Culture Festival’ on the Yamuna flood plains to celebrate 35 years of the foundation.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar heard the matter in which the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Uttar Pradesh and Delhi government made their submissions with regard to grant of permission to the festival.

On 3 March, DDA had submitted that it had granted conditional permission for organising the event and had no idea about the magnitude of the programme. The event later drew criticism after some activists petitioned the NGT, a quasi-judicial body on environmental issues, asking it to stop the event as it would have a deep impact on the Yamuna flood plains.

The DDA backed its decision to grant permission for the festival, while the Art of Living said it has fulfilled all conditions and taken requisite permissions for the event.
“We’ll leave it as a beautiful bio-diversity park. As per my knowledge, not even a single tree has been cut down, we’ve only trimmed four trees. We want the Yamuna to be clean. We will not pollute the environment. We haven’t cut a single tree,” said Sri Sri Ravi Shankar reacting to the criticism over army men construction the pontoon bridge, reports DNA.

Meanwhile, a source close to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told IANS said the Indian Army’s decision to make pontoon bridges for the upcoming event was taken after Delhi Police expressed a fear of stampede at the venue, where around 30 lakh people are expected.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The source also said the Art of Living Foundation may not be charged for the bridges as there is no policy in place for it.

The defence minister has, however, directed the defence secretary to formulate a policy for the army’s involvement in such events in future.

Earlier on Monday, President Pranab Mukherjee decided to pull out of a cultural extravaganza being organised by Art of Living guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as a controversy raged over the event.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the event on Friday and the President was to attend the valedictory function on Sunday.

“The President cannot attend the function due to unavoidable circumstances,” an official of the Rashtrapati Bhavan said on Monday.

The NGT will resume its hearing on Wenesday on holding of the festival.

The AOL Foundation expects 35 lakh people to attend the function, concerns have been raised by experts about the likely damage to the environment that may be caused by holding it on the flood plains of the already polluted river in east Delhi.

The AOL foundation, which is organising the function, will have yoga and meditation sessions, peace prayers by Sanskrit scholars and traditional cultural performances from around the world.
The three-day event will be held from 11-13 March.
With inputs from agencies

Sting on TMC leaders: Sitaram Yechury demands probe

Targeting West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress over a “sting” operation which purportedly showed three of its ministers and some MPs accepting bribe from a fictitious company, CPI(M) today asked the Centre and the Election Commission to probe the matter in view of coming assembly polls in the state.Speaking to reporters here, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury demanded that the Centre take action given some TMC Parliamentarians have been accused of taking bribe and come to a “speedy conclusion” in the matter. The party said the Election Commission too should take cognisance of the “sting” and intervene as the “disclosure” has come ahead of the assembly poll and “the money could be used to influence or intimidate voters” during the election.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The sting operation has clearly shown a galaxy of top TMC leaders involved in unethical manner in which money was being accepted. Now this is a very serious charge. This resoundingly vindicates what CPI(M) has been saying for some years now. “We demand that there should be a thorough investigation into this,” Yechury said.
ALSO READ Sting operation: Opposition corners Mamata govt, TMC says political conspiracyYechury also dismissed TMC’s claim that its political rivals were behind the “smear campaign” and asked West Bengal’s ruling party to not “shy away” from a probe. The Rajya Sabha member also stated that in case the BJP-led central government doesn’t not take action in the matter, it will underscore again “match-fixing” between the NDA major and TMC, which he claimed, was already evident with CBI’s alleged “go-slow” approach in Saradha chit fund scam, in which Trinamool leaders are accused of being involved.Three West Bengal ministers, some MPs and MLAs allegedly accepted bribes from a fictitious import-export company, according to a news portal’s “sting” operation.

I am just a soldier in the struggle for truth and justice: Kanhaiya Kumar

JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar who seems to have swept his supporters off their feet with his post-release speech, had cultivated quite an interesting network of peers inside Tihar jail where he spent almost three weeks after being arrested on sedition charges.Communication for Kanhaiya within prison became quite a problem, since the two guards who were deputed to him did not speak either Hindi or English.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>But the language barrier did not deter the 28-year-old student leader and within a couple of days he was speaking to a number of Tihar staffers including the two guards who belong to South India.In fact, he was such a favourite inside the prison, that at one point a paranoid guard even tasted his meal to check if the food was safe to consume.While Kanhaiya does realise the tremendous amount of attention that he is receiving, speaking to dna he said he considered himself to be a “soldier in the struggle for truth and justice”.”The movement which started with the FTII movement became Occupy UGC which turned into justice for Rohith Vemula and now it has become stand up with JNU. It is too early to say if this is the resurrection of the left in the country but we have got some time in our hands and I am sure all this will lead to something good,” Kanhaiya told dna. He added, “It is not about victory, it is about unity.”The first two days that Kanhaiya spent after his release have mostly been spent conversing either with journalists or his comrades who have themselves found it difficult to get enough time to converse with the man of the moment.Asked if the High Court order will prompt him to restrain his political activities, Kanhaiya responds, “I have full faith in the judiciary. If it feels that I am doing wrong I will produce myself in front of the honourable court. But if a political party thinks I am doing things that I shouldn’t be doing, I will increase my activities in defiance.”The statements of the JNU leader sound idealistic but he does his best to simplify them,”JNU students study a lot and at times use heavy technical words which the masses find difficult to comprehend fully. For me it’s simple. The student movement in India had two sides, Parliament and the streets. Either we make the ones in Parliament come onto the streets or we will enter the Parliament.”Kanhaiya while speaking to dna also expressed concern over the alleged attempts made by BJP to shrink democratic spaces in universities and specifically in JNU. “This is an onslaught but I assure the people who have stood with JNU that the legacy of this university will stay as it is. We will educate ourselves, we will debate and we will keep fighting for the people of India.”When asked about his plans Kanhaiya responded that he wanted to be a teacher, perhaps an answer which he himself find hard to believe.”See, right now, I am a student but a political student. Once I became a teacher I will be political teacher. Let’s see where this journey takes me. I don’t like to live my life in pieces. Mujhay tukron mein zindagi jeena pasand nahi”, said Kanhaiya before disappearing into the a gathering of TV crews that had been battling all day to get a slot with the “JNU hero”.A friend of Kanhaiya when asked if the JNU leader showed any signs of fatigue. “He doesn’t get tired so quickly. He told us that in jail he had read all the newspapers and knew what was being written about him and what the political leaders had been saying. I think it was in prison that he knew he had to rise again,” said the friend. “He has risen,” she added.’Not contacted for campaign’While talking dna, Kanhaiya Kumar reacted to the statement made by several senior left leaders including Sitaram Yechury that they would rope him into a campaign for leftist political groups before elections in West Bengal and Kerala. “No one officially contacted me yet. I have also not made any plans for now. For now I am a student and I want to be a teacher but I will always be someone who has his own set of politics. I cannot separate politics from me.”

Not Afzal Guru, Rohith Vemula is my icon: JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar

A day after his fiery speech at JNU which has become the toast of town, JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar addressed the media saying that it was Rohith Vemula, and not Afzal Guru who was his icon. He said: “People from all walks of life supported us. I want to tell everyone and those who are taxpayers of this country that JNU students are patriotic and not anti-nationals. It is an attempt to defame our university. JNU has never and will never support anything unconstitutional. Video can be doctored, but not Constitution,” he said. “Sacrifice of farmers, jawans and Rohith Vemula will not go wasted. Whenever a revolution started, government tried to suppress it. The sedition law was made by British to suppress us,” he added. Referring Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kumar said, “We don’t have any personal grudges against you. We have ideological differences.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the Afzal Guru issue, he said, “As a JNUSU president, I call him a citizen of India who was prosecuted by the Indian law. For me Rohith Vemula is icon, not Afzal Guru.” He also announced that he will campaign for upcoming Kerala and West Bengal Assembly polls for the Left Front. However, denying that he is a politician, he said, “I’m a student, not politician. Glad that JNU chose me.”Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury said on Friday: ‘All students supporting Left will participate in the campaign along with Kanhaiya. For the first time, the nation can see the power of the youth of Left,’ Yechury told ANI. He added the CPI (M) wants the assurance from the Centre that arrangements will be made for a ‘fair’ election so that the people of Bengal can come out and vote without any hesitation.‘There should absolutely be no violence, which is all we want. You cannot leave this responsibility on the state police,’ he said.Asserting that the Left will win in Kerala this time, Yechury stated the rampant corruption prevalent in the state right now would be alleviated by the Left as they are committed to bettering the life of the people.He also flatly ruled out any chances of forging an alliance with Congress despite admitting that the Left was facing a massive challenge in West Bengal.In West Bengal, the polling for 294 assembly seats will be held in six phases starting from April 4 to May 5. The first phase would take place in two parts- April 4 and 11. The second phase polling will be held on April 17, third on April 21, fourth on April 15, fifth on April 30 and sixth on May 5.

A new leader emerges: Left ropes in JNU hero Kanhaiya Kumar to salvage their fortunes in West Bengal

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, who was released from Tihar jail yesterday, will campaign for the Left in the upcoming West Bengal Assembly polls. ‘All students supporting Left will participate in the campaign along with Kanhaiya. For the first time, the nation can see the power of the youth of Left,’ Yechury told ANI. He added the CPI (M) wants the assurance from the Centre that arrangements will be made for a ‘fair’ election so that the people of Bengal can come out and vote without any hesitation. ‘There should absolutely be no violence, which is all we want. You cannot leave this responsibility on the state police,’ he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that the Left will win in Kerala this time, Yechury stated the rampant corruption prevalent in the state right now would be alleviated by the Left as they are committed to bettering the life of the people. He also flatly ruled out any chances of forging an alliance with Congress despite admitting that the Left was facing a massive challenge in West Bengal. In West Bengal, the polling for 294 assembly seats will be held in six phases starting from April 4 to May 5. The first phase would take place in two parts- April 4 and 11. The second phase polling will be held on April 17, third on April 21, fourth on April 15, fifth on April 30 and sixth on May 5. In Kerala, voting for 140 assembly seats would be held in a single phase on May16.Earlier, Venkaiah Naidu had said: ‘He is enjoying the publicity. What is there’ The question is let him condemn those slogans and distance himself from that. Let him help the authorities to see that such activities are curbed in the university. ‘They must study and stay away from politics. If they are interested in politics, they can leave studies and join politics. He can join any political party. His favourite party is now in single digit in the Parliament. Let him join that party. Let him not use the grab of students and students’ union to take up the cause of Afzal guru, Yakub Memon and Maqbool Bhatt. All these three people are anti-nationals,’ he added.Kanhaiya, who was released last evening after being granted a six-month interim bail by the Delhi High Court, led a scathing attack on the BJP-led NDA regime at the Centre. “I am not asking for freedom from India, I am asking for freedom in India,” he said. “I have many differences with the Prime Minister but I agree with his tweet – Satyameva Jayate. I also say Satyameva Jayate, the truth shall triumph, because it belongs to the country and the Constitution,’ he added.The 28-year-old said that he saluted the soldiers guarding the country. ‘But the soldiers, who die at the border are the sons and brothers of those who die within the country,” he said, while referring to the farmer suicides. Kanhaiya further said the crackdown on JNU was planned because the university students spoke out against the death of Hyderabad University research scholar Rohith Vemula.‘This attack is to de-legitimise the UGC protest and to prevent justice to Rohith Vemula. The fight which was initiated by Rohith Vemula, all of you and peace-loving people in the country, will be pursued by us and we’ll win this battle,” he said. “I would like to thank everyone at the JNU. All the people , whether media, political people, non civil society , who stood for saving JNU and those who want justice for Rohith Vemula, I want to salute them,” he added.With inputs from agencies

The stench of bigotry: Why is Ramachandra Guha turning into Chetan Bhagat?

This is a lighthearted attempt at a rebuttal to Ramachandra Guha’s piece. Like most of you, my news feed was also flooded with links to Ramachandra Guha’s essay contesting the notion of today’s situation being Emergency or Nazi Germany-like. Intervening as ‘the historian’ in this debate (in opposition to Sitaram Yechury and Supreme Court advocate Kamini Jaiswal), he argued that a comparison to other authoritarian moments distracts us from the ‘real problems’. Some of us also noticed the unnatural turn of condemning the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty for perhaps the first time.

His main argument rests on the fact that during the Emergency, the Congress was in power in most states, while the Modi government right now, isn’t. The narrative, we see, at times borders on soft-legitimisation. Even more importantly, the essay came out on the same day that the government booked Rahul Gandhi, Yechury and Arvind Kejriwal among others for sedition, if irony itself were not seditious.

Chetan Bhagat and Ramachandra Guha. Image courtesy: @chetan_bhagat and @Ram_Guha/TwitterChetan Bhagat and Ramachandra Guha. Image courtesy: @chetan_bhagat and @Ram_Guha/Twitter

Chetan Bhagat and Ramachandra Guha. Image courtesy: @chetan_bhagat and @Ram_Guha/Twitter

For the case of Nazi Germany, he asserts that the Nazis sought extermination of minorities including homosexuals and gypsies, while the Sangh “to the best of my knowledge”, does not. In addition, he argues that the Nazis were territorially expansionist while the Sangh has no such plans.

By highlighting the differences between the two, there is a covert dismissal of the actual use of state power in recent times in ways that many argue border on overreach. The point is whether there is a use of authoritarian power and how much — not whether two moments in history were identical twins. What is at stake is more than mere academic exercise.

There are a few things that many of us history students at JNU found or learned,  through our research or our teachers, that he very conveniently ignores, to consequentially acquit the Modi government of the charge of authoritarianism:

1. The Congress mainly used goons and the police during the Emergency. The current administration uses both, in addition to the largest private army in the country — the Sangh itself — and in addition to manufacturing the angry mob rule and public hostility towards targets of the state, with nearly the entire mainstream media on its side. This is far more than just the arms of the state. It took the media three entire days to look at the constitution and see whether accusations of sedition in JNU were valid or not and to telecast those doubts.

2. The Congress government during the Emergency was controlled by the Parliamentary head of a parliamentary party. The current government is controlled by a fascist organisation that is not only conservative but also militantly anti-democracy, beyond the pale of public accountability. Like in Germany, where the Sturmabteilung (SA) was larger than the army, you know there is a problem.

3. Nationalism was not used as a fascistic stick to beat liberalism out of the country as it is now. In fact, Jayaprakash Narayan before and during the Emergency quite successfully appropriated patriotism and used it against the state, a model that the Anna Hazare movement also attempted by heavily featuring the Indian flag. If tomorrow the kanwarias choose to take up the Indian flag, would it make them more patriotic than devout?

4. The ultimate goal of exertion of authoritarian power during the Emergency was, fortunately, not the creation of a Hindu Rashtra, as has been the goal of saffron forces for decades now.

5. The utilisation of the troop-traitor binary, where the so-called ‘anti-national’ forces don’t care for the armed forces protecting our nation, was used in 1962 against the Left (during the China war). It has been put to play to scapegoat Muslims all over the country, as well as tribals. The tendency to talk from the officer’s armchair to justify the pathetic conditions of jawans and blame it on “anti-nationals” is rapidly devouring all other discourses, in a way it did not during the Emergency.

6. To deal with the comparison with Nazi Germany, students would like to inform Mr Guha that a cursory look at Organiser or Panchajanya issues of 1947-50 would yield evidence contrary to his claims. There were claims to a ‘greater Hindusthan’ involving Indonesia, Malaysia and Indo-China or to ‘reconquerPakisthan”, not to mention Sardar Patel’s own dreams of India acquiring more territory than it inherited, in South Asia (Ceylon, Bhutan, etc). Fascist nations usually turn imperialistic after their ‘homogenisation drive’ is complete, not before – unless colonies are involved (WWI). Debates over imperialism distract from the discussion over the use of domestic authority. And to say that minorities, including Christians, LGBT, Muslims, tribals (perhaps India’s equivalent of Guha’s German gypsies) have not been repeatedly scapegoated, often with violent consequences, by the BJP is to dismiss the potential of exclusionary nationalism.

7. The regimes in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy had intellectual classes backing it, often covertly within the bureaucratic state machinery even before the fascist advent. With the BJP lacking even a substantial support among intellectuals, we are witnessing the cooptation and the replacement of institutional authority in universities and social science groups all over the country – and the import of individuals from the Sangh’s parallel schooling system of the shakhas and the shishumandirs.

8. The very fact that Ramachandra Guha is trying to intervene in the debate, also implies that this time there is a full-scale attack on secularism, liberal values and diversity by a socio-political moral police. Fortunately, the mantle of liberalism has already passed onto the hands of those defending the battleground of civil liberties and political dissent – JNU. For it is no longer those such as Amartya Sen, Aamir Khan, Raghuram Rajan and Guha, centrists who make the occasional statements about intolerance, who are the mainstream faces of (often Nehruvian) liberalism – it is the politicised, educated youth of this country in some of the finest universities and colleges – FTII, TISS, Ambedkar University, HCU, Jamia Millia Islamia, JNU, Jadavpur University and Presidency – real, tangible individuals who have the most urgent stake in the future of this country: namely the large remainder of their lives and aspirations.

Today’s situation is a threat to liberalism and democracy because ideological and electoral support for the BJP/RSS is based on the social conservatism of millions of family members. As long as social conservatism and authoritarianism exist in the Indian family (where in caste, gender or economic matters), and as long as undemocratic structures are sustained in the Indian workplace in the form of exploitation and informalisation, there will always be a base for conservative and often communal regimes that exercise authority under the garb of Hindu nationalism. This social base will hang like an albatross around our neck – a stagnant mass movement, ready to be awakened at a crisis’ notice. Social liberalism must penetrate to the bottom of the pyramid of society – the family, for there to be an end to the threat of obscurantist rule. Nationalism emboldens those in power to reach for the sky, being an enabler towards authority far worse. The years between the two World Wars in Europe most clearly demonstrate that.

How in the world can an academic dismiss a comparison of the two in such a way? More importantly, why is RamachandraGuha turning into ChetanBhagat?!

Mr Guha says worry about the environment and public education instead. In addition, some of us wonder why JNU was attacked in the first place if not for objective and quite democratic critiques of the Modi government. We must not wait for the endgame, to first declare it.

Someone, anyone, help!

Saib Bilaval is a research scholar in Modern and Contemporary History at Centre For Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.

Both Left and TMC slam Budget

Picking flaws in the Union Budget 2016-17, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Monday said it lacked vision and was full of “hollow promises”.It also burdened commoners by way of “inflationary” indirect taxation, he said. “As with the previous two budgets, this budget of the Modi govt is again full of hollow promises and slogans. The numbers just don’t add up. “FM says Budget is about fulfilling ‘desires & dreams’ but it has no vision. The dead certainty from it is of a shrinking economy,” Yechury said in a series of tweets.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Rajya Sabha member observed that the schemes announced/supported by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the budget were the ones opposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi before elections, adding increasing cess will hurt common man.”Increasing cess hurts the common man, with indirect tax collections proposed to be up by Rs 20,600 cr. Direct tax proposals are down by Rs 1,060 cr. This means more burden on common people as indirect taxes are inflationary. So there will be no expansion in domestic demand,” he stated. Trinamool Congress on Monday dubbed the General Budget 2016-17 as “hopeless,” saying it does not offer any solution to the economic problems. “This budget is not constructive, nor is it creative. It is stereotype and routine. We are left with no option, but to call it a hopeless budget,” TMC, which rules West Bengal, said in a statement here. The party headed by Mamata Banerjee said the budget does not offer any hope for the farmers, downtrodden or even for industry.”There is no hope for industry, no hope for the farmers, no hope for the poor, no hope for the middle class, no hope even for the Sensex,” TMC said, adding “no major tax reforms to benefit the middle class. Lots of big words. No real big solutions.” Taking on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, TMC said “The FM made an attempt to emphasize on social sector schemes. But the reality is different. Almost 40 social sector schemes have been stopped and states have been burdened for funding new schemes.”While giving an example of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sevak Yojana, TMC said “Instead of the Centre, which is now funding 100 per cent, it will only fund 60 per cent and the states have to bear 40 per cent. So in West Bengal where Rs 3000 crore was spent, the state would now have to shoulder a burden of Rs 1200 crore. Is this cooperative federalism?” The TMC was also critical of the FDI policy.”We believe in total transparency. Why has the FM not mentioned the details of the changes in the FDI policy in his budget speech? It is shrouded in an annexure and opens up 100 per cent FDI in many sectors. Why can’t the government be transparent?,” it asked.

Sedition row: Arvind Kejriwal says he’s a ‘bigger’ patriot than PM Narendra Modi

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is facing sedition charge, on Monday said he is a “bigger patriot” than Prime Minister Narendra Modi and claimed that BJP does not want to upset PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti by arresting the “real traitors” in the JNU case. “I have been booked for sedition. I have been raising voice in favour (of) Dalits, the backwards (Pichchdo) and the poor which is why I am an anti-national for them (BJP). My voice cannot be muzzled. I will continue to fight for them,” Kejriwal said in a series of tweets. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kejriwal claimed that those who raised anti-India slogans at the varsity campus were from Kashmir. “I am a bigger patriot than Modi ji. I ask why he has not yet arrested those who had raised slogans for the destruction of the country….because those who raised such slogans are from Kashmir and if they are arrested, Mehbooba Mufti will get angry. Our soldiers are being martyred everyday on the border. And Modi ji is saving the anti-national elements to form government in Kashmir,” Kejriwal said, referring to the on-going talks between BJP and PDP to form government in Jammu (and) Kashmir following the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.Kejriwal, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury are among nine persons who have been booked on sedition charges yesterday by the Hyderabad Police.An FIR has been registered against Rahul, Kejriwal, Yechury, Congress leaders Anand Sharma and Ajay Maken, CPI leader D Raja, JD(U) Spokesperson KC Tyagi, JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and JNU research scholar Umar Khalid on the order of a court based on a complaint filed by lawyer Janardhan Goud.

Sedition charge against Rahul: Unfazed Congress promises to continue speaking against oppression

Congress was unfazed by the sedition case filed against party Vice President Rahul Gandhi in Telangana as it declared that it will determinedly remain the “torch-bearer against oppression and suppression” by BJP. Party chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala also alleged that anybody who speaks out against suppression of opinion by the Narendra Modi government is branded “anti-national”. “Sadly, BJP and its allies want to suppress every voice that speaks against their repressive anti-Dalit and anti-poor policies. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”From Rohith Vemula to Rahul Gandhi, everyone who raises an opinion against suppressing of opinion by the Modi government is branded anti-national,” Surjewala said in a statement. Congress and the youth of India will not be deterred and speak up for the underprivileged and students in the face of “cowardly attempts” by the Modi government “drunk with arrogance of power”. “Rahulji and Congress will determinedly remain the torch- bearers against oppression and suppression being vindictively pursued by BJP,” he said. Rahul, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury are among nine persons who have been booked on sedition charges in connection with the JNU row by Hyderabad police. Yechury termed the development a “political move” which would not be possible without the NDA government’s sanction.
ALSO READ JNU Row: Now, sedition charges filed against Rahul Gandhi, Kejriwal, D Raja, Yechury and Anand Sharma”This is a political move by RSS-BJP. This could not have happened without the government’s sanction. The matter will be taken up politically and legally,” Yechury said.An FIR has been registered against Rahul, Kejriwal, Yechury, Congress leaders Anand Sharma and Ajay Maken, CPI leader D Raja, JD(U) Spokesperson KC Tyagi, JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and JNU research scholar Umar Khalid on the order of a Hyderabad court based on a complaint filed by a lawyer, Janardhan Goud.Goud had filed a complaint in the court of a Metropolitan Magistrate on Thursday seeking a direction to police for registration of a case against Kanhaiya and Khalid for allegedly raising anti-India and pro-Afzal Guru slogans on JNU campus. In his petition, Goud said he had every right to question those engaging in anti-national activities and also those encouraging anti-nationals facing sedition charges. “Being a tax payer of this country, I have every right to question them who are indulging in anti-national activity and also who are encouraging anti-nationals in the name of solidarity for those who are facing criminal charges under sections of sedition under the IPC,” Petitioner Janardhan Goud told ANI.The Delhi High Court is likely to resume hearing on a bail plea of Kanhaiya tomorrow. Kanhaiya was arrested on the sedition charges for allegedly raising anti-national slogans on the university campus. The police had earlier interrogated four JNU students -Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and Ashutosh Kumar – in this connection.”It is a court referred case related to JNU, Dedlhi. Based on the directive of the court, a case has been registered yesterday against nine persons, including Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, Sitaram Yechury, JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and others on charges of sedition under Section 124(A) of IPC,” DCP, LB Nagar, Tafseer Iqubal, said. “It may be forwarded to the concerned police station in Delhi. We are in the process of taking legal opinion with regard to the jurisdiction,” he said.The court has posted the matter for hearing on March 4. In his petition, Goud said Rahul and other leaders, despite being aware that Delhi Police had registered a case against Kanhaiya on charge of sedition had visited JNU campus and knowingly supported them and hence it “amounted to sedition”.

JNU row: Delhi Police to take cyber cell help over threat calls to Yechury

New Delhi: Delhi Police is likely to rope in cyber cell to trace the numbers from which CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury claimed to have received multiple threat calls and messages and will take strict action, a senior officer said on Sunday.

Sitaram Yechury. Firstpost/Naresh SharmaSitaram Yechury. Firstpost/Naresh Sharma

Sitaram Yechury. Firstpost/Naresh Sharma

“We are investigating about all the numbers from which such calls are being made and will take strict action against such callers,” DCP (New Delhi) Jatin Narwal said.

A police official said Yechury filed a police complaint mentioning all numbers through which the threats were received from callers who alleged that the Left leader has spoken “wrong” thing about Goddess Durga in Parliament.

The district police is likely to rope in the cyber cell for probing the matter, the official added.

Yechury had on Saturday said that he received several threat calls and text messages.

“What they are saying is all non-sense as I did not say anything of that sort. There is not even one mention of Durga. My speech is on Youtube. This is a deliberate campaign against me,” Yechury had said without naming anyone.

Yechury had earlier received similar threats on 15 February in connection with JNU row and a police complaint was
lodged but none of the callers, who made the Internet generated calls, could be traced by the investigators.


Sitaram Yechury receives threat calls and text messages

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Saturday claimed to have received threat calls and text messages for allegedly saying “wrong” things about Goddess Durga in Rajya Sabha.”I am receiving threatening calls and messages saying that I said something about Durga (in Parliament). And what they are saying is all non-sense as I did not say anything of that sort. There is not even one mention of Durga. My speech is there on Youtube. So, this is obviously a deliberately run campaign,” Yechury said without naming anyone.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yechury, who had in the recent past complained to have received threats in connection with his stance on JNU row allegedly from right-wing forces, added he got around 1000 calls and 500 text messages on his personal phone during the day.”Police have taken suo moto cognisance and also asked for a complaint which my office has lodged. I will submit all the numbers (from where calls and messages were received) to police. If they (the callers/messengers) are trying to threaten and intimidate me, that won’t work,” he added.The Rajya Sabha member had earlier claimed to have received threat calls on CPI (M) head office land line number on February 15 in connection with the varsity row.During his speech in the Upper House yesterday, Yechury had took on HRD Minister Smriti Irani for quoting certain Facebook posts purportedly written by Vemula which were critical of the CPI(M) leader and accused her of making “all foul fair”. He had questioned the veracity of the Facebook account that she had claimed to be that of Vemula.”Can a Facebook account be authenticated?… Can ‘quotes’ from the ‘cyberspace’ be permitted without the same being authenticated,” he questioned and insisted that nothing should go on record in the House without it authenticated.Contending that he is not against any criticism, Yechury said the authenticity of Vemula’s Facebook comments against him need to be ascertained.”I have always said that let a hundred flowers bloom and let a thousand thoughts contend,” he added.

Rohith Vemula’s family want enactment of ‘Rohith Act’

Rohith Vemula’s mother and brother on Saturday met political leaders including Sonia Gandhi, Sitaram Yechuri and KC Tyagi, seeking their support for enactment of a Rohith Act against caste discrimination in educational institutions.Accompanied by the leaders of Hyderabad university’s Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, Vemula’s mother Radhika and brother Raja met JD(U) MP KC Tyagi at his residence and sought his help in getting justice to Rohith and support for the Act to end caste discrimination at educational institutes to be named after him.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chairman of the JAC LS Baikai said that they met Sonia Gandhi to extend their thanks for her party’s support in the struggle for justice to Rohith and seeking her support for Rohith Act.Rohith’s mother and brother raised the demand for enactment of Rohith Act during the ongoing Parliament session to to prevent discrimination and institutional atrocities towards Dalits, tribals and marginalised sections at the educational institutions.Tyagi said that the entire nation is in turmoil after Rohith’s death terming his suicide as an example of “injustice” with students of weaker sections at the educational institutions.Accusing HRD minister Smriti Irani of putting pressure on Hyderabad University VC, Tyagi said, “Rohith would not have died if he was not expelled from the hostel…Until Smriti Irani steps down, Rohith Vemula’s issue will not die down,” Tyagi said adding his party will continue to struggle on the questions raised by Rohith’s death.CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the family members and friends of Rohith shared details of the matter with him and claimed the “facts” submitted by the students “contradicted” with what Irani stated in the Parliament.”What the Minister presented before Parliament is not based on facts. The students gave me facts, which totally contradict what the Minister said. We had earlier decided that if she has misled the House then she is liable for breach of the privilege. She is basically member of the Rajya Sabha and misled the Parliament and the country. Even Rajya Sabha will come under the ambit,” Yechury said.

JNU row: Stop interfering in central universities: Sitaram Yechury to government

CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury today castigated the BJP for trying to suppress dissent and impose their idea of a “theocratic, fascistic Hindu Rashtra” on the country and asked the government to “stop interfering” in universities which have been set up under central laws.Amid a raging controversy over suicide by a Dalit student and arrests in JNU, he also demanded the setting up of a House Committee to examine the latest developments in various central universities, while initiating the debate in Rajya Sabha on the situation arising in the central institutions of higher learning, including JNU and Hyderabad University.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yechury said an effort was being made to metamorphosise India, a secular democratic republic, into a “theocratic, fascistic Hindu Rashtra”.”Please do not castigate the entire student community and the institutions,” and “stop this tirade for advancing your brand of nationalism”, he said and termed the government’s “interference” in some univerisities as “illegal”.Seeking stern action against all anti-national activities, Yechury said the government was trying to suppress dissent and asked it not to castigate the entire student community and the institutions.Observing that the ruling dispensation was seeking to impose its idea of “narrow nationalism” as against the concept of nationalism defined by a range of people from Emperor Ashoka to Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi, Yechury said “this is a serious matter” and wanted to know if opposition to the government could be called “anti-national”.Maintaining that all central universities have been set up under central laws, he sought the setting up of a House Panel to examine the latest developments like “interference” by the Centre in them, while referring to letters written by HRD Minister Smriti Irani to the Hyderabad University.Referring to Rohith Vemula, the Dalit student of Hyderabad University, he said stopping of his scholarship led to a situation being created for him to commit suicide.He said such interference was not only limited to the JNU or Hyderabad University, but could be seen in other insitutions also in different parts of the country and “today you are castigating the entire university as anti-national.” Yechury demanded that the House Committee should “go into what is happening in all central universities” and quoted Jawaharlal Nehru to say that universities were places where debate on all ideas should flourish.On JNU and the speech by its students union president Kanhaiya Kumar, he said “I too want aazadi (freedom). I want freedom from hunger, Manuwad (ancient religious laws) and poverty …. You arrest me if you want to for that, but stop conspiring against our children.”

Opposition rejects PM Modi’s charge of conspiracy to destabilise the government

Opposition on Monday debunked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s contention that a conspiracy to destabilise the government and “defame” him was being launched and said it was a counter offensive to ward off the imminent attack on NDA in the budget session.”This was a counter offensive so that we do not go on the offensive. It is not that we are on the defensive. We submit to the Prime Minister that please rein in your party leaders,” Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters. He said that there has not been a single instance of any action being taken against anyone of the ruling party, who had made controversial remarks.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The government and the ruling party should own up,” he said frowning upon the debate started about nationalism after the JNU row.Accusing the Prime Minister of failing to take any action against such people, he cited an instance of Rajiv Gandhi sacking a party general secretary in 1988-89 when he had made a remark on the Ayodhya issue, which was at variance with the party line. “BJP leaders shoot off their mouth but no action is taken against them,” Azad said.CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury accused the government of bringing an “atmosphere of anarchy” in the country, in an apparent reference to the way the BJP and its allied government handled the Jat reservation in Haryana, the Patel quota row in Gujarat and Kapus’ agitation in Andhra Pradesh. Addressing a farmer’s rally in Bargarh in Odisha, Modi had yesterday said that disgruntled NGOs and black-marketeers were conspiring to destabilise his government and “defame” him and asserted that he will not bow to any machinations.He said some people were not able to digest the fact that a “chai wala” (tea seller) has become the Prime Minister and hence were conspiring all the time to bring him down. “You would have seen in the recent past, there is attack on me all the time. Some people are continuously at it. They are not able to digest how Modi became the Prime Minister, how a ‘chai wala’ became the Prime Minister, they cannot swallow it,” he had said.

‘Interference should be minimum in universities’: Who said what on #JNUCrackdown and #SeditionDebate

Violence broke out in the Patiala House court complex when groups of lawyers on Monday thrashed journalists, students and teachers of JNU while the political slugfest over the arrest of the university’s student leader snowballed with BJP chief Amit Shah targeting Rahul and Sonia Gandhi on the issue.

Groups of lawyers attacked journalists, students and teachers of JNU and unidentified people in and outside the court dubbing them as anti-nationals. Delhi BJP MLA O P Sharma, who happened to be in the complex, also joined a group of lawyers in beating up a person, identified as CPI activist Ameeque Jamai, who was taken to Tuglaq Road police station.

The day also saw bitter words being exchanged and accusations made across the political sphere. Here is what was said as the row escalated in the capital.

Rahul Gandhi (Congress)

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi attacked BJP and RSS, saying they wanted to control everyone’s views and follow the agenda of creating divide and hatred among people.

“BJP and RSS are following the agenda of creating divide and hatred, as can be seen from the recent developments in JNU, by imposing their views forcibly on people,” Gandhi said at a party meeting here in Assam’s Sonitpur district.

He alleged, “BJP and RSS have no respect for the diversity of the nation’s culture and sentiments of the people. They just want that everybody follow their views. They find terrorism everywhere, even in universities and brand anybody who do not agree with their views as terrorists.”

After the JNU row, the stage is set for an intense political battle. AFPAfter the JNU row, the stage is set for an intense political battle. AFP

After the JNU row, the stage is set for an intense political battle. AFP

Amit Shah (BJP)

In a scathing attack on Rahul Gandhi over the JNU row, BJP chief Amit Shah said he had “proved” that national interest had no place in his mind and asked if the Congress vice president had joined hands with separatist forces and wanted another division of India.

Speaking on the raging controversy for the first time, Shah asked Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul a host of questions and demanded that he apologise for his stand on the JNU issue, saying support to anti-national forces in the name of the Left’s progressive ideology is not acceptable.

Shiv Sena

Taking an aggressive stand on the turmoil at JNU, Shiv Sena on Monday said all politicians who support the students’ agitation should be stripped off their ‘elected status’ and those raising slogans against India put behind bars.

Citing the example of cricketer Virat Kohli’s Pakistani fan being declared an “anti-national” by the neighboring country for waving an Indian flag, the Sena said all those sloganeering against India should be declared “anti-nationals”.

“All those who are sloganeering against India should be immediately put behind bars. The JNU campus has now become a hub of not only anti-nationals, but of Pakistani and Chinese agents, who are indulging in anti-national activities on government’s money,” an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana said.

Shashi Tharoor (Congress)

Concerned over JNU row, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said government should not interfere much in the functioning of universities and that such educational institutions should be treated as autonomous.

“My personal view is that we shouldn’t have too much government interference in universities. Even as minister, I felt our education system is over-regulated and under- governed,” Tharoor told PTI on the sidelines of ‘Make in India Week’.

“We should leave universities as autonomous places,” he said, adding that as a minister he would not have written to the Vice Chancellor about matters related to disciplining or punishments.

Randeep Surjewala (Congress)

Hitting back at BJP chief Amit Shah for attacking Rahul Gandhi over the JNU row, Congress chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said those once “externed by the Supreme Court over criminal charges” should not teach patriotism to the Congress, which has played a “stellar role” in freedom movement.

Surjewala told reporters it is ironical that those who are “inheritors of the thought process of Nathuram Godse” are giving new definition of patriotism and love for the nation.

He said it was “distressing and condemnable” that “those who helped British and sided with them” in the freedom movement and whose parent organisation RSS did not hoist the National flag at its headquarters in Nagpur were teaching nationalism to Congress.

Sitaram Yechury (CPI(M))

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury launched a stinging attack on right-wing outfits for allegedly labeling Left parties as “anti-national” forces, saying there can’t be a “bigger” farce than “Godse-worshippers” putting out certificates on nationalism.

“There can be no bigger farce than Godse-worshippers putting out certificates on nationalism,” Yechury tweeted.

Nitish Kumar (JDU) 

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar attacked the Centre on the arrest of JNU Students’ Union president on sedition charge saying it was “too much of a design” to impose the ideology of ABVP, the student wing of the RSS, on the nation.
He claimed it was “like imposing Emergency” in the country.

“It’s too much of a design to impose ideology of ABVP, which is the student wing of RSS in educational institutions,” Kumar told reporters after ‘Janata Ke Darbar Mein Mukhya Mantri’ program me.

Mayawati (BSP)

BSP President Mayawati alleged the NDA government had branded JNU as “anti-national” to implement the “extreme and offensive agenda” of the RSS and termed as “political conspiracy” the arrest of JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar on sedition charges.

She also said the role of central minister or central government after the suicide of dalit student Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad to the JNU incident has been very negative, which was indicative of “a very dangerous trend”.

“In one stroke, the BJP-led government has branded the prestigious institution like JNU as anti-national in order to implement the extreme and offensive agenda of the RSS,” Mayawati said in a statement.

Kumari Selja (Congress)

Congress MP Kumari Selja said her party would raise the issue of the ongoing unrest on the JNU campus in Parliament and demanded that a high-level probe be conducted into the matter.

Talking to reporters, she said the allegation by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh that the JNU event had the backing of Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed as “very serious”.
“The Union Minister should have shared the evidence with the people of the country to back his serious allegation. Congress would raise the issue in the Budget Session,” she said.

Prashant Bhushan (Swaraj Abhiyan)

“JNU is a place where debates can place on any topics. And this is a sign of democracy. Every topic is discussed here peacefully and honestly. Today, there is an attack on it,” Bhushan said addressing agitating students and teachers in front of the admin block of the campus.

“It’s not just an attack on the university but on its thoughts, on its traditions, on this mentality which says that in any democracy people have a right to think, discuss and debate on every topic,” he said.

“The Supreme Court decided that Afzal Guru was guilty. But everyone has the right to discuss if the decision (on Guru) was right or wrong.”

“The assault on JNU has made it clear that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the entire top brass of the BJP is involved,” he said.

With inputs from PTI and IANS

JNU row: Amit Shah hits out at Rahul Gandhi and Congress for supporting protests

Speaking about the JNU incident, BJP president Amit Shah hit out at Rahul Gandhi and Congress. He was quoted saying by ANI: “BJP condemns anti-national slogans that were raised few days back at #JNU campus- Amit Shah. Desh ki zameen pe desh ke kisi bhi hisse par iss tarah ki deshdrohi gatividhiyon ko sahan nahi karna chahiye na sahan kiya jayega. SC had given capital punishment to Afzal Guru, despite that slogans were raised in support of Afzal Guru- Amit Shah on #JNU campus row. If Congress wants to support this in name of freedom of speech, want to ask them what is more big proof against anti-nationals? Trading bitter charges over the escalating JNU row, BJP chief Amit Shah alleged that Rahul Gandhi was supporting “anti-nationals” and wanted another “division” of India while the Congress vice president said the BJP was following an agenda of creating “divide and hatred”.” <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP v/s Congress and Left As the exchanges between the BJP and Congress grew shrill, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury targeted the BJP, saying there can be no “bigger farce than Godse-worshippers” putting out certificates on nationalism, in a sharp counter to Left parties being labelled as “anti-national” forces. Yechury’s predecessor Prakash Karat accused the NDA government’s “top” machinery of “directing crisis” at JNU and charged the Narendra Modi dispensation with imposing ideological hegemony on varsities in the country.Speaking on the raging JNU controversy for the first time, Shah asked Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul a host of questions and demanded that he apologise for his stand on the JNU issue, saying support to anti-national forces in the name of the Left’s progressive ideology is not acceptable. “An attempt was made to defame a leading university in the national capital by turning it into a centre which encourages terrorism and separatism. I want to ask Rahul Gandhi if it would be in national interest had the central government kept quiet?”Are you not encouraging traitors by protesting in support of these anti-nationals?”, Shah wrote in a blog. Noting that slogans like ‘Pakistan zindabad’, ‘go India go back’ and those in support of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, Kashmir’s independence and India’s destruction were raised in JNU, the BJP President wondered if the Congress leader had joined hands with separatists.”Does he want another division of India by giving a free run to separatists in the name of freedom of expression? The kind of statements the Congress vice president and other leaders of his party have made in JNU have proved again that national interest has no place in their mind,” Shah said. Rahul attacked the BJP and RSS over the JNU row, saying they do not have respect for diversity of the nation’s culture and wanted to control everyone’s views.Rahul his back”The BJP and RSS have no respect for the diversity of the nation’s culture and sentiments of the people. They just want that everybody follow their views,” Gandhi said at a party meeting in Gohpur in Assam’s Sonitpur district. “The BJP and RSS are following an agenda of creating divide and hatred, as can be seen from the recent developments in JNU, by imposing their views forcibly on people,” he said.”They find terrorism everywhere, even in universities and brand anybody who do not agree with their views as terrorists,” he added. Karat said said ever since the Modi Government came to power, universities across the country have been under siege and there have been constant attempts to “impose ideological hegemony” on universities. Karat, who is also ex-JNUSU president, made these remarks during his visit to the university campus to express solidarity with the protesting students. With inputs from agencies

JNU row: Rajnath Singh claims Hafiz Saeed supported protest, RSS backs govt

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh claimed that the JNU university event in Delhi in memory of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru had received “support” from terror outfit LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, a statement that sparked a political row with opposition parties asking him to provide evidence. As Singh said the truth that the JNU agitation received support from Saeed, who is chief of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e- Taiba, needed to be understood by the nation, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said it is a “very serious charge” to level against the students and that the evidence must be shared with all.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The incident(Afzal event) at JNU has received support from Hafiz Saeed. This is a truth that the nation needs to understand,” Singh told reporters in Allahabad, adding, “What has happened is very unfortunate.” CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said the Home Minister has to come out and share the evidence he has with the country to back up his “serious allegation”. CPI leader D Raja also demanded that the evidence be made public.Rajnath’s comments came two days after a series of tweets, purportedly by Saeed, had appeared under a hashtag asking Pakistanis to support the agitation in JNU. Police are investigating as to whether the twitter handle actually belonged to the LeT founder. Later, Delhi Police had issued an alert through the official twitter handle of the Commissioner’s office saying, “This is to alert and sensitise the student community in JNU and across the country. Do not get carried away by such seditious anti-national rhetoric. Abetment of any kind of anti-national activity is a punishable offence.” In the alert, Delhi Police had also pinned a tweet by the handle named HafeezSaeedJUD which says, “We request our Pakistani brothers to trend #SupportJNU for our pro-Pakistani JNUite brothers.”
ALSO READ Omar Abdullah asks Rajnath Singh to prove Hafiz Saeed supported JNU protestsIn a series of tweets, Omar, a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said the Home Minister must go public with the evidence collected that enabled him to level the charge against the JNU students. “That #HafizSaeed supported the #JNU protests is a very serious charge to level against the students. The evidence must be shared with all,” he said. “Cracking down on students & using #HafizSaeed to justify the crack down is a new low, even for this NDA government.” Yechury said Rajnath has made a very serious allegation about terrorists ‘backing’ JNU protests, adding. “We hope that he has concrete proof.””Considering the gravity of the charge made by no less than the Union Home Minister, we would like him to share the evidence with the country,” he added. “When we met the Home Minister yesterday, he never mentioned Hafiz Saeed to us but only harped on the slogans being raised at the protests.
ALSO READ Don’t brand JNU as anti-national, University is known for democratic ethos, say teachers Later in the day, Singh tweeted, “I appeal to all organisations and the political parties to stand united on issues pertaining to unity, sovereignty &integrity of the country. Those involved in anti-India activities or propaganda will not be spared and those who are innocent will not be harassed.” “I seek cooperation and support from all political parties &people from all walks of life to join hands in fight against anti-national forces,” he said in a series of tweets.RSS backs governmentRSS made a veiled attack on Congress and the Left over their stand on the JNU row, saying some political leaders are “condoning anti-national acts instead of demanding action against them”. RSS spokesperson Manmohan Vaidya also termed as “serious” what he claimed was students engaging in “anti-India activities” on the campus of a central university and some teachers supporting them. “At the expense of exchequer money, instead of studying, students are involving themselves in anti-India activities and some teachers are supporting them. It is serious,” he said. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja had yesterday met the students on the campus who are protesting against the sedition case slapped on the president of the JNU students’ union Kanhaiya Kumar.Asked about their visit to the campus, Vaidya said, “Instead of condemning and demanding strict action against anti-national activities, some political leaders are condoning the act.” The RSS leader also attacked the Left for leading the recent “pro Afzal Guru” demonstrations on the JNU campus. Guru was hanged following his conviction in the Parliament attack case. “Left-led demonstrations at JNU in support of a terrorist convict, coupled ‘with anti-Bharat’ slogans on placards is a matter of grave concern,” Vaidya said.

BJP hits back after Congress closes racks with other parties on JNU

As controversy surrounding crackdown on students assumed bigger political proportions with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi closing ranks with leaders of Left, JDU, RJD and AAP to attack Modi government, the BJP hit back accusing him of supporting “anti-national” forces and speaking the voice of LeT founder and terrorist Hafiz Sayeed.”What kind of ideology is Rahul Gandhi supporting? The ideology that says ‘Pakistan zindabad’ and ‘Bharat ki barbadi tak, jang rahegi jang rahegi’ (Till the downfall of India, we will fight) is anti-national.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”His remarks are an insult to the nation, our Constitution and legal system. It shows his mental bankruptcy…Rahul Gandhi and his friends are speaking in the voice LeT terrorist Hafiz Sayeed who had tweeted in support of anti-India event in JNU,” said national secretary Shrikant Sharma.While there was no reaction from senior BJP leaders, party spokesperson, Nalin Kohli questioned Rahul Gandhi’s definition of nationalism.”Does he believe that the government is supposed to stand a mute spectators to blatant anti-national slogans…Are these supposed to be new nationalistic slogan and when action is taken against it, an investigation is happening on it …is it anti-national? Mr. Rahul Gandhi seemed to have turned Congress ideology on its head from the days of fighting against anti-national forces to now saying this is an astounding new definition of nationalism,” said Kohli.With politics becoming hot after police crackdown on students, Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi met union home minister Rajnath Singh and briefed him about the ongoing probe into the sedition case that been slapped on the agitators.Delhi police had arrested JNU students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar on Friday in connection with the case sparking massive outrage among students that in turn drew severe criticism from various political parties that dubbed it as an “emergency-like” situation.Before Bassi, leaders of the Left parties, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, D Raja of CPI and KC Tyagi of the JDU met Rajnath Singh asking him to order impartial probe and release Kanhaiya Kumar, who has been remanded to police custody for three days.”We have told the Home Minister that what is occurring is worse than Emergency and all students should not be painted anti-national and the footage should be properly scanned before action. He has assured us an impartial probe,” said Yechury.Soon after the meeting, Rajnath asserted that no innocent will be harassed but the guilty will not be spared.”No question of harassment of students. But the guilty will not be spared,” said Singh.Later in the day, Bassi tweeted, “As regards DP (Delhi Police), kindly have no doubts. DP is committed to the Rule of Law. We act without any extraneous influence.”However, CPI leader D Raja claimed that he has received calls carrying threats to his daughter, who is a student activist in the university. Raja said late Friday night he got a call from a man who spoke in Hindi and asked him why he was “fighting” with BJP and ABVP. He was also “reminded” that his daughter was a resident of the University and she would be shot down, Raja said.

Watch: Rahul Gandhi compares those ‘suppressing students’ voices to Adolf Hitler’

Rahul Gandhi and other political leaders joined the protest at JNU to demand the release of the student leader, who has been arrested on sedition charge, with the government insisting that the premier university cannot be allowed to be a “hub of anti-national” activities. A day after JNU students’ Union (JNUSU) President Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested in a sedition case over an event at the varsity’s campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, CPI National Secretary D Raja and JD(U) spokesperson K C Tyagi met Home Minister Rajnath Singh here to demand his release.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The JNU row became another point of political tussle with Rahul Gandhi asserting that “most anti-national people are those who are suppressing the voice of students in this institution” and BJP saying that Congress vice president and his friends are “speaking in the voice of LeT terrorist Hafiz Sayeed who had tweeted in support of anti-India event in JNU”.
ALSO READ JNU row: Rahul Gandhi says Modi government ‘terrified of weak Indian people who raise their voice’Gandhi and the opposition leaders also attended a meet organised by the JNUSU demanding “immediate and unconditional release of students union president, end to police raj on the campus and witch-hunting of JNU students”.Gandhi was shown black flags by a group of ABVP members. Asserting that JNU cannot be allowed to be a “hub of anti-national activities”, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said freedom of expression cannot be “absolute and unqualified and reasonable restriction” has to be there. “This was an unfortunate incident. But these are not small kids who don’t know what they do. In the name of freedom of speech you can’t abuse the nation,” the minister added.
ALSO READ JNU row: Arvind Kejriwal slams Modi, but maintains anti-national activities shouldn’t be tolerated Rahul Gandhi, hit out at the Modi government as he spoke in JNU and accused the government of being anti-national. He was quoted saying by ANI: “They are terrified of weak Indian people raising their voice. They do not understand that by crushing you they are making you stronger. People who showed black flag on my face, I feel proud that in my country they have the right to show black flag in front of my face.”He added: “You must question them at every single step. Question yourselves also. Look inside yourselves & question yourselves. Later, a Minister turns around and says he was not even a Dalit. Sushma Swarajji nobody askd whether he ws Dalit or nt,ques is why wasn’t Indian students allowed to say & fight for what he believes. When we fought the British, we fought them for our land and we fought them for our voice I came here to tell you, there are more than billion people in country who believe what you believe in & standing right behind you. The most important thing we have is the voice of our people.”Meanwhile, the Chancellor of the university, K Kasturirangan, visited the campus and took stock of the situation even as four Deans of JNU wrote to VC Jagdesh Kumar to protest against the manner in which police “crackdown” was “allowed by the university”.Rahul Talk Drawing parallel between the actions against students in JNU and events leading to the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad University, he said the question is why a student is “not allowed to say what he believes in”. Noting that India is progressing because more and more people are raising their voice, Rahul said that everybody has a right to disagree. Making repeated reference to Vemula’s suicide and targetting the government especially HRD Minister Smriti Irani on the issue, he said, “A youngster expresses his views and the government says he is anti-national. Later the minister turns around and say you are not even a Dalit.” In his speech marked by frequent disruptions, Rahul said that he will be happy to see even people from RSS and BJP express their opinion.”We respect voices that are raised in front of our voice. We also respect what is raised behind our back,” he said. Training his guns on the government, he said, “They will not understand that in crushing you, they are making you stronger.” The Congress Vice President had yesterday tweeted “Modi Govt & ABVP bullying an institution like JNU simply because it won’t toe their line is completely condemnable.”While Anti-India sentiment is unquestionably unacceptable, the right to dissent & debate is an essential ingredient of democracy.” Kumar was arrested over an event at the JNU campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, sparking massive outrage among students and criticism from non-BJP parties which dubbed it as an “Emergency-like” situation. Invoking Adolf Hitler, Rahul said that suppressing voice by the Nazi ruler left Germany in rubbles.Gandhi said,”People who showed black flag on my face, I feel proud that in my country they have the right to show black flag.” Going hammer and tongs against the government, the Congress Vice President said, “People who suppress voice of this institute are anti-national. They are trying to crush the voice of the youth. I was in Hyderabad a few days back and these same people or their leaders said that Rohith Vemula was an anti-national,” Gandhi said. “There was a person in Germany named Hitler who had destroyed millions and millions of people. If only that man had listened to other people, may be that country would not have gone through that much of pain,” he said.”We do not have problem if RSS and BJP want to express their opinion. We just want to tell them if they will listen to us, they will be convinced by us… they are simply crushing voices,” Rahul said. After meeting Rajnath, Yechury said,”We met the Home Minister and apprised him about the tense atmosphere in JNU at present. Delhi Police has released a list of 20 students in connection with the event, which also includes D Raja’s daughter, but we are asking are they seen in the video shouting slogans?.” Black flags for Rahul Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was on Saturday shown black flags during his visit on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus to meet students protesting for the release of Student Union president Kanhaiya Kumar. The protestors raised slogan of “Rahul Gandhi go back” in the varsity. Besides Rahul, several leaders of the Congress and the Left parties, including deputy leader of Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma, CPI politburo member Sitaram Yechury, D. Raja, also gathered on the JNU campus. Scores of students have been demanding the release of Kumar, who was sent to a three-day police custody. Gandhi had yesterday said that the Modi government is “bullying” an institution like the Jawaharlal Nehru University and it is “completely condemnable”. Gandhi at the same time asserted that anti-India sentiment was “unquestionably unacceptable?. His remarks came after the arrest of JNU students’ union president Kumar in a sedition case over a protest event at the campus against hanging of Parliament attack. With agency inputs

JNU campus row: Left parties demand immediate release of studends’ leader Kanhaiya Kumar

Expressing their dissent over the ongoing row at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, a delegation of Left parties on Saturday met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and asked him to release Kanhaiya Kumar, the university’s students’ union president.Hours after Singh and Human Resource and Development Minister Smriti Irani denounced the raising of alleged anti-India slogans in the JNU, the Delhi Police had yesterday arrested the Kanhaiya Kumar, on charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Communist Party of India (Marxist) politburo member Sitaram Yechury, who led the Left delegation to the Home Minister, said that the actions taken by the police in the university were even worse than what happened during the emergency.
ALSO READ JNU campus row: PM Modi wants to terrorise everyone using police, says Arvind Kejriwal”We informed the Home Minister about the happenings inside the university. We told him that the kind of actions taken by him, dubbing the whole university as anti-national, is even worse than what happened during the emergency,” Yechury said.He also said that no one who would accept that JNU students are anti-national.
ALSO READ JNU campus row: NDA ex-servicemen to return degrees over ‘anti-national’ activities in University”We also presented our dissent that the RSS is trying to spread its ideology in all the universities of the country. He assured that no action would be taken against any person who is not guilty. Acknowledging his assurance we said that Kanhaiya Kumar, university’s students’ union president, should be immediately released,” he added.”The 20 people, who are being targeted and against whom the sedition charges are being slapped, are not seen raising slogans in the video. The list of those 20 people includes the name of D. Raja’s daughter also. The Centre is just using this to interfere in higher educational institutions and spread the ideology of the RSS,” he further said.”It should be proved that they are at fault. It should be proved that these incidents actually happened. The university has no cameras, so where did the tape come from,” he added.Kumar’s arrest evoked strong reactions from JNU students and teachers, past and present, and Opposition parties even as the RSS’s students wing ABVP ‘thanked’ police for arresting the ‘anti-nationals’. The arrest of Kumar, a member of the CPI’s students wing AISF, was made a day after BJP MP from East Delhi, Maheish Girri, registered a complaint.The alleged anti-India slogans were reportedly raised during a protest march on the campus on Tuesday against Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s hanging.The protest was staged even though the JNU administration had revoked permission following a complaint from the ABVP.

JNU row: Yechury dubs action against students as ‘undeclared Emergency’

Communist Party of India (Marxist) politburo member Sitaram Yechury on Friday alleged the BJP-led NDA Government’s action against the students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) reminds him of an ‘undeclared Emergency’ in the country.”What is happening in JNU’ Police on campus, arrests and picking up students from hostels. This had last happened during Emergency,”Yechury said in a tweet. The JNU Students’ Union also lashed out at the Centre for ordering the arrest of its president Kanhaiya Kumar.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The students’ faction accused the government of deliberately targeting ideological opponents. They have also accused the government of attempting to push the leftist students to take the extreme step, similar to the one taken by Hyderabad University’s scholar Rohith Vemula. “Police are doing rounds of the campus and mindlessly witch-hunting activists. They want to witch-hunt and target us, like they targeted Rohith Vemula. They want us to hang ourselves like Rohith did. But we want to remind them, every dead Rohith will further intensify the students’ movement and people’s unity,” said JNU Students’ Union vice-president Shehla Rashid Shora.Shora claimed that the JNU Students’ Union was not responsible for organizing the anti-India protests. “We stopped these slogans that called for India’s division and destruction because we don’t believe in politics of division,”he added.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has demanded strict action against the students involved in the commemoration event of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

BJP, RSS mixing communalism with Hindu Dharm for petty gains, alleges Sitaram Yechury

CPI(M) on Sunday accused BJP and RSS of mixing communalism with the Hindu Dharm for “petty political gains”, saying it is dangerous for the society.CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury also alleged that the Modi government has failed on the economic front leading to drop in agricultural and industrial production. “BJP and RSS are today mixing communalism with the Hindu Dharm for petty political gains which is dangerous for the society,” he said while delivering a lecture here on the occasion of birth centenary of late CPI(M) chief Harkishan Singh Surjeet. He said the freedom movement had defeated the hardcore ideology of communalism and RSS and that is why Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead by fanatic Nathu Ram Godse.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Today, RSS and its affiliates are trying to pose him (Godse) as a hero. This is unfortunate for the country,” he said. At present, the freedom of speech, writing and expression is under threat, the CPI(M) leader said. The trio of anti-people economic policies, communalism and fascism were ruling the country today, he alleged.”The Modi government has failed on the economic front and our economy is receding. Agricultural and industrial production is in the negative,” Yechury said. He also said the Modi government has surpassed the previous Manmohan Singh dispensation in allowing FDI in sectors like defence which, he claimed, is “dangerous” for the national security.”The people of the country and the Left shall have to stop this from happening otherwise it would be disastrous for the people,” he said. On Surjeet, the CPI(M) General Secretary said in national politics Surjeet had specialised in the art of using contradictions of the ruling parties in favour of the masses and that is why he was called ‘the Bhishm Pitamah’ of politics.

Dalit scholar suicide: Fresh protests, Sitaram Yechury to visit Hyderabad University campus

Fresh protests on Wednesday rocked the Hyderabad Central University over the alleged suicide of a Dalit student even as several politicians headed to the city including YSR Congress leader Y S Jaganmohan Reddy and CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury.A group of students carrying placards and raising slogans protested in the tense University campus this morning.Besides Hyderabad many cities across the country including in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Chennai were rocked by protests yesterday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reddy and Yechury are scheduled to meet the protesting students of the University.The suicide by the dalit student Rohith Veluma has snowballed into a major issue with BJP’s rivals wading into it and demanding the removal of Union Ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya, accusing them of being responsible for the death.Rahul Gandhi had on Tuesday led the multi-party charge attacking the government and the Vice Chancellor Appa Rao, saying, “The VC and the Union Ministers in Delhi have not acted fairly. This youngster was put in so much pain that he had no option but to kill himself.”Though he did not name Irani, who had just over the week attacked Rahul in his constituency Amethi of failing youths there, the reference was obvious to her against the backdrop of ministry’s action which is blamed for the suicide by the dalit research scholar on Sunday night.Various political parties and leaders have blamed Labour Minister Dattatreya’s letter of Aug 17 last year to Irani seeking action against the “anti national activities” of a students union and the alleged assault of an ABVP leader and a series of five communications from the HRD Ministry between Sept 3 and Nov 19 demanding follow up action for the suicide.The HRD ministry, however, has rejected allegations that it had put any pressure on the University relating to either suspension of Rohith or keeping him out of the hostel.The communications, it maintained, was not aimed at putting pressure but was in compliance with the standard protocol adopted in accordance with the Central Secretariat Manual of Procedure whenever a “VIP Reference” is received.

West Bengal Elections 2016: CPI(M) to take final call on alliance with Congress next week

A final call on the proposal of an electoral alliance with the Congress in West Bengal to take on the ruling TMC in the upcoming Assembly elections, is likely to be taken by the CPI(M) state leadership within the next one week, a senior CPI(M) leader said.”Just wait for this week to pass. The picture will be clearer by next week,” a CPI(M) Central Committee member told PTI on condition of anonymity, when asked whether the state leadership has given a green signal on the proposed alliance with the Congress in Bengal. When asked whether Left allies like the Forward Bloc and the RSP have been taken on board on the issue, the CPI(M) leader said “We have told them about the situation and the need of the hour for a strategy to take on the TMC in Bengal.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speculation on an alliance gained momentum after CPI(M) state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra, while addressing a rally on last Sunday, had said “it is now time for the Congress to decide yes or no. Now, the Congress has to decide what it will do. They have to talk to their high command. It may take time. (But) the sooner they take the decision, the better.” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on the last day of the party’s organisational Plenum in December had said it is for the state unit to take a call on any alliance with the Congress in West Bengal.The alliance issue has been cropping up from time to time with a section of the Bengal unit’s leadership reportedly rooting for such a tie-up with the Congress to take on the the ruling Trinamool Congress.

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