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Deep Sidhu, wanted in Red Fort violence, arrested


Within two hours of uploading, it was viewed 19,000 times and received 11,000 comments.

Delhi Police Special Cell has arrested Punjabi actor-turned-activist Deep Sidhu who was an wanted in the January 26 Red Fort violence case.

Sidhu was absconding ever since as the police searched for him in various places in Punjab and Haryana and even declared a reward of Rs 1 lakh on him.

“We have arrested the wanted-accused Deep Sidhu,” said Sanjeev Kumar Yadav, DCP Special Cell.

The Delhi Police had announced the cash reward of Rs 1 lakh each for information on Deep Sidhu, Jugraj Singh, Gurjot Singh and Gurjant Singh; and Rs 50,000 each on Jajbir Singh, Buta Singh, Sukhdev Singh and Iqbal Singh for their alleged involvement in the Republic Day violence that saw at least one person die and several injured, including policemen.

Police would now probe where he got shelter since January 26 and who all provided it. Those who provided shelter to him could also face legal action.

Another co-accused Sukhdev Singh was earlier arrested from Chandigarh.

Sidhu on January 31 uploaded a video on his verified Facebook account. In the 15 minute-long video message, titled ‘straight from my soul’, he was seen giving an emotional statement in Punjabi, which loosely translates to: “I am being defamed… I had left my whole life behind, and come here to join the Punjabis in their protest. But now I am being labelled a traitor.”

“All I did was raise a voice for your rights. For so many months, I have been meeting everyone on roads, in tents. Now a single man is being made a traitor,” he said addressing the hundreds of farmers, who have been sitting in protests at Delhi’s borders since November 26 against the three contentious farm laws.

Within two hours of uploading, it was viewed 19,000 times and received 11,000 comments.




Modi extends olive branch to farmers


PM slams those abusing Sikhs; assures MSP will remain; plea to call off stir

Accusing the Opposition of taking a U-turn on the farm reforms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today invited agitating farmers for talks on the farm laws and said the Government was ready to exchange views and resolve their apprehensions.

In the same vein, he also hit out at deleterious influences from abroad, referring to them as ‘foreign destructive ideology’, as well as a new “breed” of agitators ~ ‘Andolanjivi’ ~ in the country who cannot live without a tumult.

In an apparent reference to tweets by pop star Rihanna and Swedish climateactivist Greta Thunberg favouring the agitating farmers, Modi played on the term ‘Foreign Direct Investment or FDI’ to warn against deleterious influences from abroad.

Replying to the Rajya Sabha debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address, he said “options” were still open, and there were no tensions in the talks, even after several rounds of discussions. The Prime Minister said the Opposition, including the Congress Party, had from time to time, called for reforms in agriculture, and it was not clear why they were opposed to them now.

India was not a static society, he said, and legislative changes were brought gradually, he said. Time had come to bring reforms in the agriculture sector. The proposed reforms should be given a chance, and if shortcomings were found, they would be corrected, he said.

The Prime Minister said the MSP(Minimum Support Price) was there and it would continue, as it was now.The sanctity of the place where he was giving this assurance should be respected, he said.

Modi said reforms were opposed even on earlier occasions, but they were pursued with good results. Even former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had referred to the rigidities in the marketing system which prevented the farmers from getting good returns, and offered to remove the handicaps, the PM said.

He said the Opposition had made several speeches on the farmers’ agitation but concentrated on the manner it was being conducted; there was no attempt to refer to the spirit of the laws. The farmers would only land in darkness, if there was politics on the reforms, he said.

Modi said the farm laws would benefit the small farmers particularly, whose number had risen to 86 per cent. The number of those owning up to half a hectare of land had risen from 51 per cent to 68 per cent.

As the Prime Minister rose to give his 80 minute reply, the Trinamul Congress members staged a walk-out. The Motion of Thanks to the President’s address was adopted by the House after rejecting all amendments moved by the Opposition.

He said by increasing the ambit of Fasal Bima Yojana in 2014, claims worth `90,000 crore have been settled benefiting small farmers in the country. He said nearly `1.15 lakh crore rupees were directly transferred into the accounts of the farmers under the PMKISAN scheme.




All sanctioned Rafale jets to be inducted by April 2022; Rajnath Singh informs RS


This was shared by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday in the Rajya Sabha.

All the sanctioned Rafale fighter jets will be inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) by April 2022 and by March this year, 7 more Rafales will be inducted.

This was shared by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday in the Rajya Sabha. The IAF till date has 11 of the world-class fighter planes.

Three Rafale combat aircraft landed in India on January 27 night after flying non-stop from France, an Indian Air Force official said. The three jets added to the then fleet of eight Rafale aircraft.

It was the third batch of Rafale aircraft that landed after flying over 7,000 km from the Istres Air Base in France and used in-flight refuelling.

The Rafale combat aircraft is manufactured by the French company Dassault Aviation.

India received the first batch of five Rafale aircraft on July 29, 2020, which were inducted into the 17 Golden Arrows Squadron on September 10 at the Ambala Air Base last year.

The second batch of three Rafale combat aircraft arrived in India on November 4, 2020.

India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 Rafale jets at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.

Rafale is a 4.5 generation aircraft and has the latest weapons, superior sensors and fully integrated architecture. It is an Omni-role aircraft which means it can carry out at least four missions in one sortie.

The fighter jet has HAMMER missiles. It will also be armed with beyond visual range missiles like Meteor, SCALP and MICA, increasing its ability to take on incoming targets from a distance.

(With IANS inputs)




In fresh notice, Govt orders Twitter to block 1,178 accounts linked to ‘Khalistan sympathisers’


The new notice was sent to Twitter on Thursday last week and the company was yet to comply with the directions, said the sources.

Microblogging platform Twitter has been directed by the Government of India to block 1,178 more accounts as it is believed that they are linked to the “Khalistan sympathisers and those backed by Pakistan as well”.

This was conveyed to Twitter by a fresh notice in less than 10 days. The new notice was sent to Twitter on Thursday last week and the company was yet to comply with the directions, said the sources.

The IT ministry, earlier this month, had asked the micro-blogging platform to block 257 accounts using the #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide hashtag amid the farmers’ protest, under the Section 69A of the IT Act.

The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) warned the social media platform of penal action over non-compliance of its order to remove accounts and tweets which alleged “farmer genocide” in the country.

Content with the hashtag “#ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide” was posted on Twitter, which, according to the government, was designed to “inflame passions” and “hatred”.

Citing that Twitter unilaterally unblocked accounts and tweets despite the government order, the notice said that Twitter is an intermediary and is obliged to obey the direction of the government and refusal to do so will invite penal action.

Top Twitter management in India faces penal action that may include seven-year imprisonment and fine if the company does not comply with the Indian government’s order to remove accounts and tweets as per the notice.

The government said that the company, as an intermediary under Section 2(1)(w) of the act, is once again directed to block access by the public to the said Twitter handles and also the said hashtag with immediate effect.

“It needs to be mentioned that Section 69A(3) provides for specific penal consequences in case of non-compliance of the directions issued under Section 69A of the Act,” the first notice read.

(With IANS inputs)




150 missing after U’khand flash flood


Section of Nanda Devi glacier breaks off,triggering avalanche, flood, Hydel Project swept away, at least 7 dead

At least seven persons were killed and over one hundred and fifty workers of two power projects are missing after a glacier burst, causing an avalanche and creating flooding in river Rishiganga in district Chamoli on Sunday. The flooding caused massive damage to the under-construction Rishiganga and Tapovan hydro projects. The toll could go higher, with the Uttarakhand chief minister saying that 30 persons were working at the Rishiganga power project site and 176 others at the Tapovan project site.

A high alert was sounded in villages and towns located on the bank of the Ganga river in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

Many workers engaged in the power projects were trapped in tunnels. Sixteen trapped workers were rescued from a tunnel at Tapovan by late evening. The process of evacuating workers from another tunnel was underway. ITBP teams conducted the rescue operation in the tunnel to evacuate the trapped labourers.

The disaster hit the remote location of district Chamoli at about 10.45 a.m on Sunday. A portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off, triggering an avalanche and flooding in the Alaknanda river system, which comprises the Dhauliganga, Rishiganga and Alaknanda rivers.

Authorities said the 13.2 MW small hydro project on the Rishiganga river was swept away in the glacier burst. Homes along the river banks were also swept away as the waters rushed down the mountainsides in a raging torrent.

As the disaster hit the valley, the state government launched a massive search and rescue operation. Teams of the State Disaster Relief Force and National Disaster Relief Force were dispatched to the affected area. People living on river banks were shifted to safer locations. A high alert was sounded in downstream towns like Nandprayag, Karanprayag, Ruderprayag, Srinagar, Rishikesh, Haridwar, etc.

Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said, “Six hundred personnel from Army and ITBP are on standby for dealing with the emerging situation. All the rescue teams are doing their best to save the lives of missing workers at NTPC and Rishiganga sites.”

In his interaction with the media in Dehradun after returning from Chamoli, the CM said that 30 persons were at work at the Rishiganga hydro-electric project and 176 others at the NTPC’s Tapovan– Vishnugad project site when the disaster occurred.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the Uttarakhand chief minister and reviewed the situation in Chamoli.

In a tweet, Mr Modi said: “Am constantly monitoring the unfortunate situation in Uttarakhand. India stands with Uttarakhand and the nation prays for everyone’s safety there. Have been continuously speaking to senior authorities and getting updates on NDRF deployment, rescue work and relief operations.”

Videos of the water rushing downstream, taken with smart phone by villagers, instantly became viral on social media. The videos also prompted people living on river banks downstream to move to safer locations.

The water level returned to normal after about six hours of the disaster.

Uttarakhand Police DGP Ashok Kumar said, “The situation is under control. The water has reached Srinagar and its level is stable and there is no danger of flooding taking place downstream.”

Uttarakhand chief minister Rawat visited the affected area and inspected the disaster site. The CM, who is said to have initially got information about the disaster through social media, interacted with workers and local people.

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, held an emergency meeting in New Delhi in the evening in the wake of the disaster.




‘Quad’ leaders may hold first meet amidst China’s posturing


Officially known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, the “Quad” is an informal strategic forum of the four countries which regularly hold dialogue at the ministers’ and senior officials’ level and also conduct joint military drills.

The four ”Quad” countries ~ India, Japan, Australia and the USA ~ propose to hold the first meeting of their leaders against the backdrop of growing Chinese assertiveness on maritime issues, according to the Japanese media.

If it fructifies, the meeting could also provide a platform for detailed talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and America’s new President Joe Biden on growing Indo-US ties.

A report in The Japan Times said the Biden administration appeared eager to build on the grouping of the four major Indo-Pacific democracies. It said the US had already proposed to other countries the idea of holding an online meeting of the “Quad” leaders. It quoted US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan calling the “Quad” a “foundation upon which to build substantial American policy in the Indo- Pacific,” in recent remarks.

However, there was no immediate confirmation available from the foreign office in New Delhi on whether such a meeting would take place any time soon. Whether the talks would materialise soon would depend on India, which is known for its relatively cautious stance on the framework. It is the only “Quad” member that shares a land border with China and operates outside the US-led security alliances.

During the proposed meeting, the four nations are expected to discuss cooperation for the realisation of a free and open Indo-Pacific amid concerns over China’s aggressive posturing in the region. China may react with displeasure, as it sees the framework as an attempt to contain its rise.

Officially known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, the “Quad” is an informal strategic forum of the four countries which regularly hold dialogue at the ministers’ and senior officials’ level and also conduct joint military drills.




Time for people of Bengal to show TMC ‘Ram Card’: Modi


Further taking a dig at Mamata Banerjee, the Prime Minister said: “Mamata Didi gets bamboozled when Bengal asks her about development and feels scared when Jai Shri Ram slogans are hurled. It isn’t unusual since her government has only institutionalised corruption and politicised government institutions but made no effort to resuscitate Bengal. TMC is a party of extortionists.”

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually set the ball rolling for the BJP’s campaign for the West Bengal Assembly polls during his visit to Haldia today where he asserted that once the BJP forms a government in Bengal, the first cabinet meeting will seek to bring relief measures for all the farmers of the state who have been deprived of the benefits of the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme by the ‘Ma Mati Manush’ (Trinamul Congress) government.

With the BJP and the TMC engaged in what is expected to be a tight fight in the Assembly election, Mr Modi launched a scathing offensive against the Trinamul government, which he alleged took one retrograde measure after another, leading to Bengal taking a backseat in terms of development.

Addressing lakhs of supporters from the podium in his first public rally in the state before the polls, the PM asked, “How many factories have come up in Bengal in the last 10 years? Mamata promised change in 2011 and people who believed in it today feel dejected. The state government didn’t even spare the poor farmers of the state who are still waiting to avail the Centre’s Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme. Once BJP wins the polls, the first cabinet meeting will not just address the issue but also create provisions to clear the earlier funds which Bengal farmers couldn’t avail.”

Further taking a dig at Mamata Banerjee, the Prime Minister said: “Mamata Didi gets bamboozled when Bengal asks her about development and feels scared when Jai Shri Ram slogans are hurled. It isn’t unusual since her government has only institutionalised corruption and politicised government institutions but made no effort to resuscitate Bengal. TMC is a party of extortionists.”

“You even looted the funds sent by the Centre as relief for all those whose lives were devastated by cyclone Amphan,” the Prime Minister charged the Trinamul Congress.He said people expected “mamta” (affection) from Miss Banerjee but got “nirmamta” (cruelty) instead.

Recalling the zest among Bengalis for football, he said: “Trinamul is busy committing foul after foul and it’s about time the people show her the red card.”

He likened the Mamata Banerjee government to a second version of the Left Front government in Bengal and said there has been a “rebirth of communism” under her rule. The indicator, he said, was that politics has been criminalised and administration has been politicised in the state. The state’s politics is the “biggest reason for its condition,” he said.

Referring to the Left – Congress alliance in the state, he said “The Trinamul, Left and the Congress are now busy match fixing behind closed doors. Voting for this alliance is also voting for TMC. Voters must not be fooled by this since Bengal needs ‘Poriborton’ (change). Trinamul turncoats Suvendu Adhikari and Rajib Banerjee today shared the dais with the Prime Minister.

Mr Modi inaugurated a slew of projects today in Haldia, including an LPG import terminal built by Bharat Petroleum at an approximate cost of Rs 1100 crore and which is expected to generate employment of 15 lakh man-days. The second project is Dobhi- Durgapur natural gas pipeline built by GAIL at a cost of Rs 2400 crore, generating employment of 11 lakh man-days. A four lane ROB-cum-flyover at Ranichak built at Rs 190 crore was inaugurated while the PM also laid the foundation stone of the second catalytic iso-dewaxing unit at the Haldia Refinery.




Just 78 Covid-linked fatalities reported in last 24 hours


There were also no Covid- 19 death in seventeen states and Union territories during the last 24 hours, said a senior officer of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday.

Even as the number of beneficiaries vaccinated against Covid-19 in India crossed 58 lakh, daily Covid-19 fatalities fell below 80 in the past 24 hours, the lowest in nine months.

There were also no Covid- 19 death in seventeen states and Union territories during the last 24 hours, said a senior officer of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday.

Just 78 fatalities linked to the coronavirus were recorded for the country as a whole for the same period, the lowest recorded after nine months.

The figure took the total death toll increased to 1,54,996.

The ministry said 12 states have vaccinated more than two lakh beneficiaries each and the highest number of vaccinations were reported in Uttar Pradesh with 6,73,543 vaccinations.

In the vaccination drive, India is now only next to the United States and the United Kingdom in terms of coverage, the Ministry said.

The cumulative number of healthcare workers and frontline workers vaccinated against Covid-19 is 58,03,617 till 6:40 p.m. on Sunday.

The cumulative vaccination coverage includes 53,17,760 healthcare workers and 4,85,857 frontline workers, the officer said.

There has been a sustained increase in the number of beneficiaries being vaccinated every day.

The country, meanwhile, added 12,059 new Covid-19 cases over the previous 24 hours, according to health ministry data updated at 8 a.m on Sunday. India’s tally of Covid-19 infections now stands at 1,08,26,363, while the active caseload is 1,48,766, which is just 1.37% of India’s total positive cases. Further, India’s cumulative recoveries stand at 1.05 crore with a recovery rate of 97.19%.

While the situation has improved remarkably in many states, 81.5 per cent of the new recovered cases are observed to be concentrated in 6 States/UTs. Kerala has reported the maximum number of singleday recoveries with 6,178 newly recovered cases. 1,739 people recovered in Maharashtra in the past 24 hours followed by 503 in Tamil Nadu, the ministry stated.

As regards new cases, 84.83% of the daily new cases are from 6 States and UTs mainly Kerala (5,942 new cases, followed by Maharashtra with 2,768, and Karnataka (531) new cases.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 20,13,68,378 samples have been tested up for the coronavirus till February 6, with 6,95,789 samples being tested on Saturday.

Delhi sees 119 cases, 2 deaths:

Delhi today recorded 119 new coronavirus infections (Covid- 19) and 2 Covid-linked deaths, according to the Delhi government’s latest health bulletin. These 119 fresh coronavirus cases were detected out of 54,247 tests. The positivity rate stood at 0.22 per cent.

The national capital’s cumulative Covid tally rose to 6,36,035 and its coronavirus toll climbed to 10,879, the health bulletin said. Delhi’s tally of active Covid cases dropped to 1,112 from 1,174 the previous day, the bulletin stated. The patients who remained hospitalised numbered 528 while 465 were under home isolation.




‘Flash Mob’ to ‘Hashtags’: Keeping Delhi Police on their toes


All district units of Delhi Police have been asked to stay alert and prepared to respond to any untoward situation on short notice. Senior police officers would be supervising the arrangements themselves.

The Delhi Police is all geared up to tackle any surprise element, including ‘flash mob’ tactics and ‘protest call on social media’ on Saturday as the Samyukta Kisan Morcha and other farmer organisations are set for a nationwide 3-hour ‘Chakka jam’.

Despite the agitating farmers assurance that the proposed ‘chakka jam’ would not be implemented in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi, the Delhi Police as a precautionary measure have intensified security arrangements with special focus on bordering areas where the protesting farmers have been present since November 26 last year.

The city police force is keeping an eye any flash mob situation where groups of people or protesters could assemble at designated location at a specified time to perform an indicated action before dispersing back again.

It is also keeping an eye on social media handles and hashtags so that any call for instant gathering like the ‘Flash mob’ one, can be tackled. This is after the entire police mechanism had taken a hit on Republic Day, when the farmers’ tractor rally had gone off-track and created hours of ruckus in the heart of the capital culminating in the siege of the Red Fort.

“Though we have got to know that the farmers have no plans to do chakka jam in the capital but in the wake of the flouting the agreement earlier on January 26, we are taking no chances and have made elaborate security arrangements especially on border areas,” said Chinmoy Biswal, Delhi Police PRO.

Security has been tightened at strategic locations and the police is keeping an eye on the protest build up in the bordering states and the protest sites close to Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders.

Additional forces have been deployed in these areas amid multi-layer barricading and barbed wire fencing. The Delhi Police is also in touch with the police of bordering states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and collecting intelligence inputs in close coordination with the state police.

The Delhi Police is also keeping a close vigil on various social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and others.

On Friday, the Delhi Police Commissioner S.N. Shrivastava held a meeting with senior police officers and reviewed the security arrangements.

All district units of Delhi Police have been asked to stay alert and prepared to respond to any untoward situation on short notice. Senior police officers would be supervising the arrangements themselves.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait earlier said the nationwide protest will be peaceful and added that there will be no ‘chakka jam’ in Delhi.

“Farmers will not block roads in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand on Saturday as part of the nationwide ‘chakka jam’ called by Samyukta Kisan Morcha,” Tikait said on Friday.

 




Modi to visit Assam, West Bengal on Feb 7


The Prime Minister will also dedicate to the nation the 348 km Dobhi-Durgapur Natural Gas Pipeline section, which is part of the Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga project.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a day’s visit to poll-bound Assam and West Bengal on February 7 to lay the foundation stone for several infrastructure projects.

According to a government statement, Modi will visit Assam on Sunday around 11.45 a.m. and will lay the foundation stone of two hospitals and launch ‘Asom Mala’, a programme for state highways and major district roads, at Dhekiajuli in the state’s Sonitpur district.

Later on the same day, the Prime Minister is scheduled to visit Haldia in West Bengal around 4.50 p.m. There, he will lay the foundation stone of key infrastructure projects.

The statement said Modi will dedicate to the nation the LPG import terminal built by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited in West Bengal, which has been constructed with an investment of around Rs 1,100 crore and has a capacity of one million metric tonne per annum.

It said that LPG import terminal will cater to the growing requirement of LPG in West Bengal and other states in eastern and north-eastern India and is an important step towards realizing the vision of the Prime Minister to provide clean cooking LPG to every household.

The Prime Minister will also dedicate to the nation the 348 km Dobhi-Durgapur Natural Gas Pipeline section, which is part of the Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga project.

According to the government, the pipeline will help revival of HURL Sindri (Jharkhand) fertiliser plant, supply gas to Matix Fertilizer Plant in Durgapur (West Bengal) and cater to gas demand of industrial, commercial and automobile sectors, and city gas distribution across all major towns in the state.

Modi will then lay the foundation stone of the second Catalytic-Isodewaxing unit of Haldia Refinery of Indian Oil Corporation, which will have a capacity of 270 thousand metric tonne per annum, and once commissioned, is expected to result in a saving of about $185 million in foreign exchange.

Modi will also dedicate to the nation the four lane ROB-cum-flyover at Ranichak, Haldia on NH 41, which has been built at the cost of Rs 190 crore.

The statement said that these projects are in line with Prime Minister’s vision of Purvodaya, of driving growth of Eastern India. Governor and Chief Minister of West Bengal, and Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas will be present on the occasion.

In Assam, the Prime Minister will launch ‘Asom Mala’, aimed at helping improve state highways and major district roads network in the state.

It said that the programme is unique for its emphasis on effective maintenance through continuous field data collection and its linkage with the Road Asset Management System.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal will also be present on the occasion.

The Prime Minister will then lay the foundation stone of two medical colleges and hospitals, which are being set up at Biswanath and Charaideo, at a total estimated project cost of over Rs 1,100 crore.

It said that each hospital will have 500 bed capacity and 100 MBBS seats capacity.





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