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Session on prevention of sexual harassment held at IIT Indore


 



The decline in standards of Indian bureaucrats and the police


 Policeman stand in front of vandalised shops following clashes between supporters and opponents of a new citizenship law, at Bhajanpura area of New Delhi on February 24, 2020, ahead of US President arrival in New Delhi. - Fresh clashes raged in New Delhi in protests over a contentious citizenship law on February 24, hours ahead of a visit to the Indian capital by US President Donald Trump. India has seen weeks of demonstrations and violence since a new citizenship law -- that critics say discriminates against Muslims -- came into force in December. (Photo by Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP)

Justice Markandey Katju

It is true that civil servants and police officers are subordinate to their political masters. Nevertheless, they are also servants of the law, and must refuse to carry out illegal orders of the politicians. In the Nuremberg Trials after the end of the Second World War, the Nazi accused took the defense that they were only carrying out orders of their superior Hitler, but this plea was rejected, and many accused were hanged.
High standards of Indian bureaucracy & police officers
For some time after independence, the Indian bureaucracy and police officers maintained high standards. The political leaders would not ordinarily interfere with their functioning, and the senior officers would boldly and fearlessly object to such interference by their political masters. Sardar Patel, in the Constituent Assembly Debates (vide volume 10, page 51 ), said ” My Secretary can write a note opposed to my views. I have given that freedom to all my Secretaries. I have told them that if they do not give their honest opinion for fear that it will displease their Minister, they had better go. I will bring another Secretary. I am never displeased over a frank expression of opinion “.

The eminent jurist Seervai, in his ‘ Constitutional Law of India ‘ writes “If a civil service is to command the confidence of the people it must be a non-political civil service, discharging its duty fearlessly, no matter which political party is in power for the time being”.


 
I remember when my grandfather, late Dr. K.N.Katju, was Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, a complaint was made to him about serious misbehavior by a police officer. Dr Katju was thinking of suspending him, but then the Inspector General of Police (there were no Director Generals then ) K.F.Rustamji ( perhaps the most outstanding police officer India has known, who was later awarded the Padma Vibhushan), met him and said “Sir, if you do that, it will have a demoralizing effect on the entire police force. Permit me instead to handle the matter”. Dr Katju agreed, and Mr Rustami took appropriate action himself.

Decline from high standards
Unfortunately, thereafter there was a steady decline from these high standards, and particularly over the past several decades in India many bureaucrats and police officers aligned themselves and became toadies of some political leaders, and would do their illegal/improper bidding, obviously for getting some plum posting and/or other personal benefits. Some even collaborated and also shared in the benefits of corruption by politicians.
The Second Report of the Police Commission ( published in 1979 ) stated ” Interference with the police system by external sources, especially the politicians, encourages the police personnel to believe that their career advancement does not at all depend on the merits of their professional performance, but by currying favor with politicians who count. Politicking and hobnobbing with politicians appear very worthwhile to them, and takes up most of their time to the detriment of performance of their professional jobs. This process sets the system on the downward slope to decay and total ineffectiveness “.




Sensex crashes over 1,100 points as coronavirus outbreak fears grow; Rs 5 lakh cr investor wealth wiped off


Mumbai: Market benchmark Sensex plummeted over 1,100 points, wiping off over Rs 5 lakh crore investor wealth, in opening session on Friday amid a massive selloff in global equities as rising coronavirus cases outside China stoked fears of a pandemic that could dent world growth.

The 30-share index sank 1,100.27 points, or 2.77 per cent, to 38,645.39, while the NSE Nifty cracked 329.50 points, or 2.83 per cent, to 11,303.80, All Sensex components were trading in the red, led by losses in Tata Steel, Tech Mahindra, Infosys, Mahindra and Mahindra, Bajaj Finance, HCL Tech and Reliance Industries.

In the previous session, the Sensex settled 143.30 points, or 0.36 per cent, lower at 39,745.66, and the Nifty fell 45.20 points or 0.39 per cent to end at 11,633.30.

 
 

According to analysts, till last week the market was of the view that coronavirus was going to have minimum impact on global economy as situation in China was being contained. But the increase in the number of new cases is changing the view and investors are worried about an intense slowdown.

Further, incessant selling by foreign investors is also spooking domestic market participants, traders said.

On a net basis, foreign institutional investors sold equities worth Rs 3,127.36 crore on Thursday, data available with stock exchanges showed.

Stock exchanges in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo plunged up to 4 per cent in their morning sessions.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1,190.95 points, its largest one-day point drop in history, bringing its loss for the week to 3,225.77 points, or 11.1 per cent.

The S&P 500 has now plunged 12 per cent from the all-time high it set just a week ago.

World oil prices too tumbled by more than 4 per cent overnight as traders fretted about the impact of spreading coronavirus on crude demand, particularly from key consumer China.

Brent crude oil futures fell another 2.47 per cent to USD 50.45 per barrel early in the day.

The rupee depreciated 28 paise to 71.89 against the US dollar in morning session.

 
 
 



US Election 2020: How Donald Trump’s campaign is specifically targeting Indian-American voters


In 2016, 80% of Indian-Americans voted for Donald Trump’s Democratic nominee, but the POTUS is making a huge attempt to turn more desi heads.

According to a report in Politco, for the first time ever, a Republican Presidential candidate is spending a huge among of money on ‘tailored ads for Indian American voters’.

Indian-Americans are seen as model immigrants/citizens and have a high rate of voting. The campaign believes that tax cuts and Trump’s stance on illegal immigration, along with his high-profile camaraderie with PM Modi, who hosted a huge reception for the POTUS and FLOTUS in Ahmedabad.

Despite Trump’s inability to pronounce the names of global icons like Swami Vivekananda or Sachin Tendulkar, the event was deemed a huge success by the Indian side, particularly since Trump refused to criticise the government over either the violence in Delhi or the lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir.


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@karmariaz
My frand Dolan Tramp don't know how to pronounce Swamy Vivekananda, Sholay, Sachin and Virat.

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The ads are centred around Trump’s recent trips. One of the them features Donald and Melania Trump standing in front of the Taj Mahal and says: “Indian Americans are titans of business, masters of the arts and innovate technology like few others. Your contributions have strengthened our culture and economy. I will always fight for YOU!”

Another says ‘America LOVES India’, featuring a photo of Trump and Modi and states, perhaps ironically given India is facing one of its biggest slowdowns: “Our economies have never been better, and the United States is eager to build a strong partnership with India.”


Melania Trump

@FLOTUS
One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the breathtaking Taj Mahal!

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A third just has a picture of Modi and lists Trumps’ educational policies, including tax breaks to support ‘private- and religious-school scholarships’

While Republicans have often struggled to attract Indian voters – one of the largest growing ethnic groups in the country – they believe Trump has a better chance thanks to his outreach efforts and his praise for Modi.

It comes in the backdrop of the Democratic nominees, particularly Bernie Sanders, taking hard positions on Kashmir and CAA protests and violence in India, which Democratic nominees have called ‘anti-Muslim mob violence’.


Narendra Modi

@narendramodi
Moments from Ahmedabad that we will all cherish.

India is honoured to host @POTUS @realDonaldTrump.

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For the first time ever, India appears to be one of the central themes of the US Electoral campaign.

While Trump refused to criticise the violence that erupted in the national capital on the day he was there, Sanders wrote: “Over 200 million Muslims call India home. Widespread anti-Muslim mob violence has killed at least 27 and injured many more. Trump responds by saying, "That's up to India." This is a failure of leadership on human rights.”

This led to sharp reaction from a BJP functionary - BL Santosh the party's General Secretary - who threatened to 'interfere' in the US Elections. Santosh later deleted his tweet.

While there has been an attempt to paint the violence and protests as an ‘anti-Muslim pogrom’, there have been Hindu and Muslim casualties including an intelligence branch officer Ankit Sharma who had been stabbed over 400 times.

In recent years, there have been attempts by both the Trump and Modi administration to converge over interests, which at times has been hurt by Trump’s MAGA policies.

Interest in India is high in the States right now, and Washington Post and New York Times in particular spend a lot of resources covering India.

It is to be noted 2016 – despite the xenophobic rhetoric that marked the campaign – was exceptional for the Indian-American diaspora which had 1% of the US Congress for the first time.

It’s not weird actually to have Indian-Americans in the US who overwhelmingly vote Democratic but back PM Modi back home.

As The Hindu’s Editor Varghese George noted at Zee JLF 2020: “The Indian-American has been split into pro-Hindutva and anti-Hindutva which is equally vocal. There is a thing to be noted that it’s largely upper-caste, middle class Indians who qualify with a caste system. They are not really there. They haven’t left India. They carry a lot of baggage from India. We have contradictory politics. You have the same people who are vocal about minority rights in the US but are equally supportive of authoritarianism back home.”

A curious case of this bipolarity is the popularity of Naveen ‘Bobby’ Jindal, a 2016 Republican nominee who got support from both Democrats and Republicans when he ran for office, irrespective of his conservative positions on gun control, rape, incest and abortion.

While one assumed that Indian-Americans would pick a Democrat, Jindal’s rise showed that Indian-Americans could put personal politics aside to vote for one of their own.

For New Delhi’s part, India appears to have firmly thrown its hat into the ring in support of Donald Trump, perhaps betting that the Democratic nominees would act tough on several issues.

While New Delhi won't be too happy with a BJP members threatening to 'interfere' with the US election, the received wisdom in New Delhi appears to be in favour of a 2nd Trump term at the White House.

Despite Trump’s abrasive nature, the belief in both New Delhi and Washington amongst the policy wonks has been that India has been better treated than most other traditional US allies.

There’s also likelier to be far less attention from a Trump administration on issues like the CAA protests or the lockdown on Jammu and Kashmir, which might not be the same case with a Democrat in the White House.




Rajasthan: Dalit dies in police custody in Barmer district, tensions prevail


Tension prevailed in Barmer district of Rajasthan over the death of a Dalit youth in police custody. Jeetu aka Jitendra Khatik a scrap dealer was picked up Wednesday by the police on the suspicion of purchasing stolen goods. Jeetu is a resident of Hamirpur area of Barmer.

It is being said that his health deteriorated in the afternoon and he was rushed to the government hospital by the police where he was declare dead. His family and local residents reached the hospital and staged a protest. They accused the police of torturing him in custody, that led to his death.

 
 

Matters escalated to such a level that Deep Singh, the station incharge was suspended and entire staff of Barmer rural police station was sent to lines.

According to Barmer SP Sharad Choudhary, "Jitendra was picked up for questioning but no case was registered against him. A medical board has been formed to conduct post mortem. The SHO has been suspended and entire staff of police station sent to lines."

The matter took shape of political controversy when Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal demanded that Barmer SP also be suspended. Jodhpur IG reached Barmer to speak to the protesting people but they refuse to be appeased.

Later in the night the government issues orders to remove Barmer SP Sharad Choudhary. He has been made APO.

 
 
 



China’s coronavirus death toll rises to 2,788, more than 78,800 infected


Beijing: The death toll due to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China has increased to 2,788, health authorities said on Friday, while the number of confirmed cases has risen to 78,824.

Chinese health authorities said it received reports of 327 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 44 deaths on Thursday from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, Xinhua reported. Among the deaths, 41 were in Hubei Province, two in Beijing and one in the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, according to the China's National Health Commission.

 
 

452 more suspected cases were reported on Thursday, said the commission. On Thursday, 3,622 people were discharged from hospital after recovery, while the number of severe cases decreased by 394 to 7,952. The overall confirmed cases on the mainland had reached 78,824 by the end of Thursday, and 2,788 people had died of the disease.

The commission added that 2,308 people were still suspected of being infected with the virus. A total of 36,117 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery. The commission said 656,054 close contacts had been traced, adding that among them, 10,525 were discharged from medical observation Thursday, with 65,225 others still under medical observation.

By the end of Thursday, 93 confirmed cases including two deaths had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), 10 confirmed cases in the Macao SAR, and 32 in Taiwan including one death. Twenty six patients in Hong Kong, eight in Macao and six in Taiwan had been discharged from hospital after recovery.

 
 
 



Maharashtra: CAG rap for BJP in airport, Metro project procedural lapses in tender process


Mumbai: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has rapped the previous BJP-led government and its various undertakings for procedural lapses, flaws in tendering process and for extending a helping hand to contractors while compromising the state's interest in the development of Navi Mumbai airport project and the Mumbai Metro.

The report was tabled in the State cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday evening. The copies of the report were distributed to the ministers but were later collected since they are confidential.

The Navi Mumbai international project is running behind schedule and involves an investment of Rs 16,000 crore. It is being developed by the Mumbai International Airport Ltd while the State-run City and Industrial Development Corporation is the nodal agency.

 
 

The first phase with handling of 10 million passengers was to be commissioned in December 2019 and later rescheduled to May 2020. Now, it will be further delayed.

As far as the Mumbai Metro is concerned, the BJP government had proposed that the network be enhanced to more than 300 km from the existing 11.4 km.

The project is being implemented by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority and the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation.

An MVA minister told the FPJ, "CAG has castigated the previous BJP-led government and government undertakings for irregularities and major procedural lapses in awarding contracts.

In some contracts awarded in the case of Navi Mumbai airport, CAG found that global tenders were not called; neither was it publicised. In the case of demolition of a hillock, which was situated right in the middle of the aeronautical zone, the CAG has noticed some financial errors."

Further, the CAG has also expressed displeasure over the government's haste in awarding some contracts for Mumbai Metro project which will benefit the contractors.

The minister informed FPJ that the CAG report, after the cabinet discussion, has been forwarded to the state Governor; after his nod it will be tabled in the legislature during the ongoing budget session.

The MVA constituents – the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress -- plan to corner the BJP on CAG's scathing report. T

he findings will come handy in checkmating the BJP which has been setting deadlines for the collapse of the state government. The MVA government also plans to expose various other scams and irregularities during the BJP government.

 
 
 



FPJ Exclusive: MVA govt may invoke Maharashtra Police Act to form SIT for Elgar case probe


Mumbai: Maha Vikas Aghadi may establish a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe Pune police conduct in the Elgar Parishad case by invoking section 4 of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951.

As per this section, the superintendence of the Police Force throughout state vests in and is exercisable by the State Government and it can exercise control, direction and supervision over the police force.

This is in addition to invoking section 10 of the National Investigation Act, 2019 which gives powers to the state government to hold parallel inquiry excluding the list of Scheduled Offences.

The state government is expected to get legal opinion soon and then it will take a final call. SIT is likely to be headed by the retired judge.

 
 

MVA minister told FPJ, "The Pune police conduct in the Elgar Parishad needs to be investigated and, under section 4 of the Maharashtra Police Act, the state government can do it."

NCP chief Sharad Pawar had demanded SIT probe into police behaviour saying that those who were not present at the Elgar Parishad were charged and some of them were arrested. He had also demanded suspension of a few Pune police officers.

The Elgar Parishad case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave, held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which police claimed triggered violence near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in the district the next day. Pune police claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists and arrested nine activists.

 
 
 



NPR exercise to be put on hold in Telangana


Hyderabad: What comes as a major relief for the Muslims and poor people of Telangana, the State government has decided to put on hold the National Population Register (NPR) work for the time being.

As reported by the New Indian Express, the TRS government would move a resolution in the Legislative Assembly urging the Centre to implement the old format of NPR, instead of the revised one proposed for 2020 Census.

According to sources, government would adopt another resolution suggesting the Centre to dispense with the new format of NPR in the forthcoming budget session of the Legislature, along with a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The State government has opposed the CAA in the parliament and it also wants to take up the NPR work in old format without the objectionable questions.


 
West Bengal and Kerala have decided to put NPR work on hold and Telangana would follow suit. The sources added that though the States cannot stop the NPR work, the move to stop all the activities with regard to NPR would bring some pressure on the Centre to make some modifications in the new NPR format.

With reference to the sources close to Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, the New Indian Express stated that the TRS 
Meanwhile, a senior IAS officer issuing orders to carry out NPR work when TS has decided to put it on hold was shunted out of the GAD some time ago.
government was against the new format of the NPR.




Journalist forced to drop pants to prove religion


New Delhi: A journalist associated with a Hindi news portal narrated his ordeal that he faced while filming in a riot-hit area of Delhi.

Susheel Manav, the journalist said that he and another person, Awadhu Azad who were riding on a bike were stopped by miscreants at Lane 7 of Maujpur. The rioters questioned them, “Why are you filming?”

Although, Manav informed them that he belongs to a media house, they snatched his phone.

Religion test
When a group of 20-25 men carrying lathis and country-made pistols surround Manav, he informed them that he is a Hindu. To confirm his religion, they asked him to recite Hanuman Chalisa.

Even after reciting it, they forced Manav and Awadhu to drop their pants to prove their religion.

The ordeal did not end there. Despite checking the religions of Manav and Awadhu, the miscreants beat them.

After a while, two police constable approached the spot and help the victims to reach the main road. It is alleged that the cops were not interested in taking action against the rioters.

Treatment in Muslim area
After the incident, they reached nearby Muslim area, Babarpur. Once they reached Babarpur, locals rushed to help them as Awadhu was bleeding.

When Manav informed them about the incident and his identity, Muslims took them to the nearby clinic. The staff at the clinic did not charge any amount for the treatment.

Later, an auto driver helped them in reaching home safely.  

After the incident, Manav recalled that his mother suggested him not to visit Muslim area.

No religion teaches violence

The ordeal faced by the journalist proves that religion has nothing to do with violence. Despite proving that they are Hindus, rioters assaulted them whereas, locals of Muslim area not only provided treatment free of cost but also ensured their safe return to home.





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