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Sadhvi Praagna's statement on Karkare unfortunate, despicable: Ex-DGPs

Seven ex-DGPs -- Julio Ribeiro,Prakash Singh, PKH Tharakan, Kamal Kumar, Jacob Punoose, Sanjeev Dayal, Jayanto N. Choudhury, and N Ramachandran -- have in a statement said that the remarks of Sadhvi Pragya, a contestant from the Bhopal constituency, on late Hemant Karkare, Indian Police Service, Chief of ATS, Mumbai Police, are "unfortunate", and though she has retracted, the fact is "Karkare fell to terrorist bullets on 26/11 in the line of duty while defending his country."
Ex-DGPs say, Karkare "would probably be alive today had he not volunteered to return to the Maharashtra cadre from a plum posting at the Centre with the specific intention of working with the Anti-Terror Squad to prevent and investigate the activities of terrorists so that the rest of us could sleep safe in our beds. The country owes him a huge debt of gratitude. Anything that detracts from this is worthy of strong condemnation."
The statement continues, "This despicable and r…

Hold credible inquiry into sexual harassment complaint against CJI: Civil rights leaders

Thirty civil rights leaders have expressed “extremely concern” following the complaint of sexual harassment and victimisation made by a woman employee of the Supreme Court against the Chief Justice of India. “The charges are prima facie serious enough to warrant an independent inquiry by a high level independent committee”, they have said in a statement.
Those who have signed the statement include Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy, Aruna Roy, Bezwada Wilson, Yogendra Yadav, Harsh Mander, Syeda Hameed, P Sainath, Anjali Bhardwaj, Aakar Patel, Shabnam Hashmi, Amitabh Behar, Maj Gen SG Vombatkere, Kavita Srivastava, and Meera Sanghamitra.
The statement says, “The complaint has alleged arbitrary actions taken against the complainant, resulting in unprecedented victimisation that she and her family have been put through and continue to suffer after she rejected the alleged sexual advances, including the unjust termination of the services of the complainant, the suspension from service of her …

On fast for six months, Atmabodhanand warns: Will up water for clean Ganga if govt doesn't listen

An open warning young saint Atmabodhand, on fast in Haridwar for ensuring clean Ganga for the last about six months, has said that he would give up even water if by March 25 the Government of India does not concede to his demands. Bringing this to light, Matu Jansangathan, an Uttarakhand-based civil rights organization, has regretted, quoting the saint, that no representative of the government has come to talk to him so far.
In a statement, Matu Jansangathan said, the government “has neglected his demands for the past six months”, it is “not talking to him nor is replying to him in writing”, adding, “In a democracy this is a shameful act seeking to circumvent constitutional and moral force of non-violent movements.”
Recalling that on October 11, 2018, Swami Sanand wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi before he died in a government hospital in Rishikesh, the civil rights body said, Modi never cared to send a reply. “The government has not taken any concrete positive steps on…

Bangladesh's anti-terrorism "policy" leads to forced disappeance of 500 people: Paris report

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The Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) in a new report on "enforced disappearances in Bangladesh" has said that country's government has used these "to silence members of the political opposition and dissenting voices." The report is based on 30 interviews with victims of enforced disappearances that occurred between 2012 and 2018, their family members, eyewitnesses, and information from other civil society organisations.
According to the report, “Vanished Without a Trace: The Enforced Disappearance of Opposition and Dissent in Bangladesh,” state actors, including military and police, "worked in tandem to make people disappear. Some returned home, alive but silenced. Some were found dead, supposedly killed in crossfire. Others never came back."
The report believe, "There is a clear pattern of Bangladeshi authorities using enforced disappearances to silence political dissidents, especially since 2011." Documenting…

NGO releases videos showing workers entering into gutter in Ahmedabad without safety equipment

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A Gujarat-based grassroots organization, Manav Garima Trust (MGT), has taken strong exception to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) failing to implement the law prohibiting manual scavenging, saying, AMC has continued to use workers to clean up underground gutters without providing any safety equipment.
Releasing two videos and several photographs taken between January and April 2019, MGT director Parsottam Vaghela said, this is a mockery of Swacch Bharat Mission and the Supreme Court judgment of 2014, adding, these workers, employed by contractors hired by AMC, are sought to forced descend into gutter lines in the middle of night, though the law prohibits this after 6 pm.
One of the videos shows a worker entering into a sewerage line at 1.00 am in Bapunagar in February (on the top), and another one is of Vejalpur (the second one) taken a fortnight ago this month. Vaghela says, despite the death of two gutter workers in Bawla in Ahmedabad district, AMC has not woken up, add…

Ex-PM Manmohan Singh praises NYAY for its "Keynesian effect"

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“Endorsing” NYAY – Nyuntam Aay Yojana – announced by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called it “a powerful idea with dual objectives – to wipe out the last remnants of poverty and to restart stalled economic activity in our nation.” Under NYAY, the poorest 20% of Indian families will be given an annual income support of a uniform amount of ₹72000 for each family.
Singh in a statement said, “By providing direct income support, NYAY will empower our poor with economic freedom and choice” and it will “usher in an era of a minimum income guarantee and help create a new social contract for a new welfare state.” He added, “NYAY will also help restart our economic engine that has come to a stop today.”
According to Singh, who is known as a keen supporter of free market economics, “Money in the hands of the needy will stimulate demand in the economy which can then lead to increased economic activity and job creation, referred to as the Keynesian effe…

Amit Shah earns just Rs 56 lakh annually, owns Rs 40 crore assets, faces four serious charges: Affidavit

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BJP's  high-profile candidate from Gandhinagar, Amit Shah, who also happens to be the party's national president, has claimed that his annual income is just about Rs 56 lakh, and his main sources of income are agriculture, rent and share market. Shah has also declared that he owns 40.32 crore of assets -- 23.55 crore movable and Rs 16.77 crore immovable.
In his self-declared affidavit, Shah has also said that he faces four serious cases, related to "mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc." (IPC Section-436); "promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony" (IPC Section-153A); "imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration" (IPC Section-153B); and "criminal intimidation" (IPC Section-506).
Releasing these figures, advocacy groups Gujarat Election Watch and Association of …

Pragya Thakur's outlook is in "sync" with Modi's: Swami Agnivesh

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Well-known saint-activist Swami Agnivesh has said in a statement that BJP Bhopal candidate, Pragya Thakur, has "maligned" the cherished memory of Hemant Karkare, the martyr in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, adding, it "deserves to be condemned by all Indians, irrespective of party affiliations."
He said, "To claim that it was her curse that led to the untimely death of a brave police officer, who laid down his life in the line of duty, and for which he had been given highest civilian award (Ashok Chakra) in 2009" proves that "the lady may have the vestments of a sadhvi, but is wholly devoid of any spiritual sensitivity."
According to Agnivesh, "BJP did not choose Pragya for her spiritual finesse or political maturity, both of which lacks utterly. She has been chosen because of her ability to communalise the election. "Commenting on BJP seeking to "tactically distance" itself from Pragya’s statement, he added, "It cannot…

In 3rd phase, 27% BJP, 24% Congress Lok Sabha candidates declare criminal cases on themselves

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An analysis by the National Election Watch (NEW) and the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) of the self-sworn affidavits of candidates fighting Lok Sabha elections in the third phase (April 23) suggests, among the major political parties, and 40 (44%) out of 90 candidates from Congress, 38 (39%) out of 97 candidates from BJP have declared criminal cases against themselves.
As for serious criminal cases, 26 (27%) out of 97 candidates from BJP and 24 (27%) out of 90 candidates from Congress have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
In all, 1,594 candidates' affidavits analysed by NEW and ADR suggests that 340 or 21% candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves, and 230 or 14% have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
Further, 14 candidates have declared convicted cases against themselves, 13 candidates have declared cases related to murder (IPC Section -302) against themselves, and 30 candidates have declared cases related to atte…

Sir Syed's contribution recalled at Jamia Urdu's 80th Foundation Day

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Speaking on the 80th Foundation Day of Jamia Urdu, Aligarh, several Urdu enthusiasts, includind MM Ansari, former member, Universities Grants Commission (UGC), Firoz Bakht Ahmed, chairman, Academic Council, Jamia Urdu, and Dr Jasim Mohammed, director, Jamia Urdu, suggested how Urdu became the language of composite culture, paving the way for communal amity among communities.
While Kuldeep Agarwal, former director, National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), stated that that the purpose of all the Indian and international languages is to achieve the spirit of fraternal ambiance and ecumenism, Musaid Kidwai, an academic, said that Jamia Urdu’s research wing’s purpose was to define the problem sectors in the field of Urdu language not only within the country but also internationally as well.
A coffee table book, “A Journey of Urdu” was released along with a compilation of Sir Syed’s writings, “Mazamin-e-Sir Syed”, authored by Farhat Ali Khan. Attended by students from different cour…