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Haryana CM ‘saddened’ on Sikh’s priest suicide amidst farmers protests



A day after a Sikh priest who was supporting the farmers agitation died by suicide at the Delhi-Haryana border, Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar expressed his grief and said that Baba Ram Singh dedicated his life to the service of people.

Haryana CM ML Khattar said, “I am saddened by Baba Ram Singh’s death. He spent his entire life serving people and lived only for others.”


This is the first official reaction by a BJP- ruled state on the death due to the farmers protests near Delhi’s border. The opposition parties said that government’s ‘brutality has crossed all limits.’

Baba Ram Singh, a 65-year old priest at a Gurudwara in Haryana had allegedly shot himself on Wednesday evening in a car at the Delhi-Sonipat border, which is around two kilometres away from the Singhu border, the epicentre of the farmers protest.

In the suicide note, priest Baba Ram Singh said that he was sacrificing his life ‘to express anger and pain against the government’s injustice.’

The note said, “I feel the pain of farmers fighting to ensure their rights… I share their pain because the government is not doing justice to them. To inflict injustice is a sin, but it is also a sin to tolerate injustice. To support farmers, some have returned their awards to the government.  I have decided to sacrifice myself.”

The funeral will be held in Karnal on Friday, according to his followers.

Opposition leaders have expressed their grief and offered condolences and targeted the ruling BJP.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “Sant Baba Ram Singh from Karnal died by suicide over the farmers’ condition at Kundli border. My condolences in this moment of grief… many farmers have sacrificed their lives. The Modi government has crossed all the limits of cruelty. Stop being adamant, take back the anti-farmer laws.”


Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said, “The news of Sant Baba Ram Singh Ji’s suicide is very painful. In this hour of grief, condolences to his family. Our farmers are asking for their rights. The government should listen to the voice of farmers and withdraw the three laws.”


Shiromani Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Badal and a former ally of the BJP said, “Anguished to hear that Sant Baba Ram Singh ji Nanaksar Singhra wale shot himself at Singhu border in Kisan Dharna, looking at farmers’ suffering. Sant ji’s sacrifice won’t be allowed to go in vain. I urge GOI not to let situation deteriorate any further & repeal the 3 agri laws.”

Farmers from across the country have gathered at the Delhi border and are agitating against the three farm laws that were passed by the centre. The farmers have set forth their demands wit the government regarding the minimum support price (MSP) system which they feel leave them to be exploited by corporates.




UP govt loses case in SC seeking tough charges against Kafeel Khan under NSA


Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, confirming the Allahabad High Court order that freed Dr. Khan said, “Criminal cases will be decided on their own. You cannot use a preventive detention order in another case,”

The Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday lost its case seeking tough charges against doctor Kafeel Khan under the National Security Act (NSA) for his speech against the amended citizenship law in Supreme Court.

Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, confirming the Allahabad High Court order that freed Dr. Khan said, “Criminal cases will be decided on their own. You cannot use a preventive detention order in another case,”

Chief Justice Bobde further added, “It seems to be a good order by the High Court. We see no reason to interfere with the order. But the observations will not affect the prosecution on criminal cases.”

The Yogi Adityanath led UP-government had challenged the Allahabad HC order that termed the detention of  Dr Kafeel Khan as ‘illegal’ and had cancelled it.

The Gorakhpur-based doctor was arrested from Mumbai in January for his alleged ‘inflammatory’ speech against the amended citizenship act at Aligarh Muslim University. He was charged under the National Security Act (NSA) for ‘disturbing public order in the city and creating an atmosphere of fear and insecurity within the citizens of Aligarh.’

The Allahabad HC had cancelled the detention order saying that the speech did not show any effort to promote hate or violence.

Dr Khan was initially charged for allegedly promoting enmity between different religious groups and the charges under NSA were slapped later after he was given bail on February 10.

The charges under NSA under which the government can detain people without being charged in court for up to a year if they suspect that they could disrupt public order, endanger the security of India or its ties with foreign countries.

The UP government has argued that Dr Kafeel Khan had a history of committing offences which led to disciplinary action, suspension from service, and registration of police cases and the NSA charges.




Day after farmer commits suicide, another protester dies this morning allegedly due to cold


The farmer was survived by three children of ages 10, 12 and 14.

The farmers protest is getting tragic day by day as another death has been reported from the protesters camp on Thursday.

A farmer protesting near the Delhi-Haryana border died this morning allegedly due to cold.

As per the reports, the farmer was survived by three children of ages 10, 12 and 14.

Yesterday, a 65-year-old farmer has been identified as Baba Ram Singh of Singhra village in Nissing area of Haryana’s Karnal district, committed suicide by shooting himself..

Baba Ram Singh left a suicide note which states that he couldn’t see the ordeal of farmers who are sitting on the outskirts of the national capital protesting against the recently-passed farm laws.

Leaders of the protesting farmers have said that they will ‘make’ the government repeal the three farm laws and asserted that they are ‘determined’ to win.

Farmer leader Jagjeet Dallewal, on Tuesday, while talking to journalists at Singhu border, said, “The government is saying ‘we won’t repeal these laws’. We are saying we will make you do it. The fight has reached a stage where we are determined to win no matter what.”

He further added, “We are not running away from a negotiation but the government has to pay heed to our demands and come forward with concrete proposals.”

Till now, five meetings have taken place between the government led by Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar and the protesting farmers. Union Home Minister Amit Shah had also met the farmers but it didn’t yield any results.

Twenty farmers have died since the protest started outside Delhi and the farmer leaders on Tuesday had said that the government is responsible for this and will have to pay.

The farmers have set forth their demands with the government regarding the minimum support price (MSP) system which they feel would leave them to be exploited by corporates. Farmers are agitating against the farm laws passed by the government at the borders of Delhi and have braved tear gas and water cannons.




‘Narendra Modi played an important role in fall of Kamal Nath government’: BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya


‘If anyone played an important role in pulling down the Kamal Nath government, it was Narendra Modi and not Dharmendra Pradhan,’ he said.

BJP’s National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya in a public event in Madhya Pradesh claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had played an “important role” in the fall of Kamal Nath-led Congress government in the state.

“Don’t tell anyone. I haven’t told anyone this till now… am making it public for the first time from this stage. If anyone played an important role in pulling down the Kamal Nath government, it was Narendra Modi and not Dharmendra Pradhan,” Vijayvargiya said.


The 15-month-old Kamal Nath government collapsed after 22 Congress MLAs resigned from the Congress pushing into a crisis after senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia revolted and joined the BJP.

In his letter to the Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Jyotiraditya Scindia had written, “While my aim and purpose remain the same as it has always been from the very beginning, to serve the people of my state and country, I believe I am unable to do this anymore within this party.”




India dropped one spot to 131 in 2020 Human Development Index


Life expectancy of Indians at birth in 2019 was 69.7 years while Bangladesh has a life expectancy of 72.6 years and Pakistan 67.3 years, the 2020 Human Development Report said.

India dropped one spot to 131 among 189 countries in the 2020 human development index, according to a report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Human Development Index is the measure of a nation’s health, education, and standards of living.

Life expectancy of Indians at birth in 2019 was 69.7 years while Bangladesh has a life expectancy of 72.6 years and Pakistan 67.3 years, the 2020 Human Development Report said.

India, Bhutan (129), Bangladesh (133), Nepal (142), and Pakistan (154) were ranked among countries with medium human development, the report said.

India’s HDI value for 2019 is 0.645 which put it in the medium human development category. India has been positioned at 131 out of 189 countries and territories, according to the report. India had ranked 130 in 2018 in the index.

Norway topped the index, followed by Ireland, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Iceland, the report showed.

Talking to reporters, UNDP Resident Representative Shoko Noda said the drop in India’s ranking doesn’t mean “India didn’t do well but other countries did better”.

Noda said India can help other countries too and lauded its commitment to reduce carbon emissions.

According to the report published by the United Nations Development Programme on Tuesday, India’s gross national income per capita fell to USD 6,681 in 2019 from USD 6,829 in 2018 on purchasing power parity (PPP) basis.

Purchasing power parity or PPP is a measurement of prices in different countries that uses the prices of specific goods to compare the absolute purchasing power of the countries’ currencies.

The report said evidence from Colombia to India indicates that financial security and ownership of land improve women’s security and reduce the risk of gender-based violence, clearly indicating that owning land can empower women.

It further said indigenous children in Cambodia, India and Thailand show more malnutrition-related issues such as stunting and wasting.

“In India different responses in parent behaviour as well as some disinvestment in girls’ health and education have led to higher malnutrition among girls than among boys as a consequence of shocks likely linked to climate change,” the report said.

The report said that under the Paris Agreement, India pledged to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP from the 2005 level by 33-35 percent by 2030 and to obtain 40 percent of electric power capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.

“As part of the plan, the National Solar Mission aims to promote solar energy for power generation and other uses to make solar energy competitive with fossil fuel-based options. Solar capacity in India increased from 2.6 gigawatts in March 2014 to 30 gigawatts in July 2019, achieving its target of 20 gigawatts four years ahead of schedule. In 2019, India ranked fifth for installed solar capacity,” the report said.




‘To bring clean politics’: Aam Aadmi Party to contest 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections


‘If government hospitals in Delhi can improve, people here can get free electricity 24×7, why can’t the same happen in UP?’ Kejriwal said.

Delhi-based Aam Aadmi Party led by Arvind Kejriwal which has performed exceptionally well in last two Assembly elections in the national capital has announced on Tuesday to contest Uttar Pradesh election in 2022.

While declaring the move, Kejriwal promised to bring clean politics in the state which has 403 Assembly seats.


“Some people will ask what we will bring to UP. We will bring clean politics. That is what numerous parties could not give to the state,” he said.

In his virtual address, Kejriwal slammed the BJP-led UP government by saying, “Today, people in UP are forced to come to Delhi for basic facilities like health and education. Can the biggest state in India not become the most developed state too?”

“UP’s dirty politics and corrupt leaders and blocking the state’s development. Locals have given a chance to all the parties. But every government has set new records of corruption,” Kejriwal said.

“If government hospitals in Delhi can improve, people here can get free electricity 24×7, why can’t the same happen in UP? Why don’t the schools in neighbouring state meet the required standards when Delhi’s government schools can set the benchmark? For women’s safety, we’ve installed CCTVs everywhere but crimes against women continue to rise in UP,” he said.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party had on February 11 this year had again created history, sweeping the Delhi Assembly election comprehensively for the second consecutive time.

The party bagged 62 of the total 70 seats, restricting the principal challenger BJP again to a single-digit figure of mere 8 seats in a bitterly-fought, fiercely-contested electoral battle that took place in the national capital in the midst of continuing protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).




No Winter Session of Parliament due to spread of coronavirus; Budget Session likely in January


The Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi has said that all parties favour scrapping the session to avoid any Covid spread and jump straight to the Budget session in January.

Amid the outbreak of coronavirus, the government has decided not to convene the winter session of Parliament.

There will be no winter session of Parliament this time because of the coronavirus outbreak, it said.

The Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi has said that all parties favour scrapping the session to avoid any Covid spread and jump straight to the Budget session in January.

Joshi’s remarks come in a letter responding to Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary’s demand for a session to discuss controversial new farm laws that are at the core of massive farmer protests on highways near Delhi.

The minister replied that he had held discussions with leaders of all parties and the consensus was not to call a session due to COVID-19.

The monsoon session of the Parliament in September was curtailed as early as amidst the rising coronavirus cases in the country.

During the Monsoon Session, as many as 25 MPs tested positive for Covid-19 which included Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Prahlad Patel.

Members of both the Houses, on a voluntary basis in regular intervals were taken the RT-PCR test.

According to the new protocol to check the spread of Covid-19, reporters and parliament staff were made to undergo the rapid antigen test mandatory on a regular basis.

Parliament had adopted strong measures including the seating arrangement in a staggered way in chambers of both Houses, as well as galleries to maintain physical distancing. Mobile app for registering of their attendance and seats separated with poly-carbon sheets in the House has also been introduced by the Parliament.




At 4.1 degrees Celsius, Delhi witnesses lowest temperature this season so far


For the plains, the IMD declares a cold wave when the minimum temperature is 10 degrees Celsius or below and is 4.5 degrees less than the normal for two consecutive days.

A cold wave gripped Delhi today as icy winds blowing from the snow-covered western Himalayas brought the minimum temperature down to 4.1 degrees Celsius, the lowest in the city this season so far, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

For the plains, the IMD declares a cold wave when the minimum temperature is 10 degrees Celsius or below and is 4.5 degrees less than the normal for two consecutive days.

“However, for small areas such as Delhi, a cold wave can be declared if the criteria is fulfilled even for a day,” Kuldeep Srivastava, the head of the IMD’s regional forecasting centre, said.

At 4.1 degrees Celsius, the minimum temperature at Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative data for the city, was five degrees below normal this morning.

At Jafarpur, the mercury dipped to 3.6 degrees Celsius.

The Ayanagar and Lodhi Road weather stations recorded a minimum of 4 degrees Celsius and 4.2 degrees Celsius respectively, the IMD said.

On Monday, the maximum temperature in the national capital had dropped to 19.4 degrees Celsius, four degrees below normal and the lowest so far this month, as cold winds swept the city.

The air quality has also improved to the “moderate” category due to the strong winds.

Delhi’s air quality index (AQI) was 190 at 10 am. The 24-hour average AQI was 160 on Monday, 305 on Sunday and 356 on Saturday.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”.




‘Will always inspire to protect unity, integrity and sovereignty’: PM pays tributes to Sardar Patel on his Punya Tithi


Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu and other leaders also paid tribute to the Iron Man of India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday paid tributes to Sardar Patel on his Punya Tithi by saying that his path will always inspire us to protect the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the country.

In a tweet in Hindi, Prime Minister said, “I pay tribute to Iron Man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who laid the foundation of a strong and prosperous India, on his death anniversary. His path will always inspire us to protect the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the country.”


Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu and other leaders also paid tribute to the Iron Man of India.

 

 

 




‘Now it is time to turn the page, to unite, to heal’: Joe Biden as electors confirm victory


As Biden appealed to Americans to “turn the page” on the divisive contest, electors met across all US states to seal his win, with California pushing Biden over the majority of 270 votes.

Joe Biden was confirmed as the next US president on Monday as the Electoral College formalized his victory over Donald Trump, all but closing the door on the incumbent’s efforts to overturn the result of the 2020 election.

As Biden appealed to Americans to “turn the page” on the divisive contest, electors met across all US states to seal his win, with California pushing Biden over the majority of 270 votes — and clearing the way for him to take office on January 20.

But with his ability to steal the spotlight still intact, Trump announced moments later that Attorney General Bill Barr, who contradicted the outgoing president’s claims the November 3 election was marred by fraud, would leave his post next week.

“Our relationship has been a very good one,” Trump tweeted, making no mention of their divergence. “Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family.”

While a senior administration official said Barr resigned of his own accord and was not pushed out, the extraordinary convergence of events highlighted the tensions underlying Trump’s “lame duck” final weeks in office.

The 200-plus-year-old Electoral College procedure is merely a formality in confirming the will of the people expressed at the polls, but the process carried added significance given the turbulence of last month’s election and Trump’s refusal to acknowledge his own defeat.

California’s electors burst into applause as the presiding officer read out the tally of 55 in favor of Biden and none opposed — confirming Barack Obama’s former vice president as the nation’s 46th president.

“Democracy prevailed. We the people voted…. The integrity of our elections remains intact,” Biden said in excerpts from a speech he was expected to deliver in his home city of Wilmington, Delaware later Monday.

“Now it is time to turn the page, to unite, to heal,” Biden said. “I will be a president for all Americans.”

This year, the somewhat arcane Electoral College procedure was at the center of an ugly — and many warn dangerous — challenge led by Trump against the credibility of US democracy.

Soundly beaten by Biden on November 3, Trump continues to claim, without evidence, that he was the real winner.

Court after court has turned down the Republican team’s claims of election fraud and last Friday the US Supreme Court dealt a final legal blow when it threw out an appeal lodged by Trump allies from Texas and other Republican-led states.

– Disinformation –

Formal Electoral College confirmation drew a further line under the election, which saw Biden make Trump a rare one-term president after campaigning on a message of vanquishing the Covid-19 pandemic, healing political division and restoring traditional US diplomacy.

Until now, a majority of Republicans in Congress have either backed Trump’s claims or at least turned a blind eye, with many refusing to call Biden the president-elect.

Disinformation spearheaded by the president and spread by popular commentators on Fox News and new conspiracy theory-mongering outlets like Newsmax means many Americans have all but given up faith in their own institutions.

Thousands of Trump supporters, including members of far-right groups, protested in Washington at the weekend, brawling with counter-protesters, while in Georgia footage showed armed activists in camouflage parading at the state Capitol to support Trump’s claims.

Polls show as few as one in four Republican voters accept the election results.

Trump maintained his stream of threats and unsubstantiated claims on Twitter Monday, citing “massive VOTER FRAUD” and declaring that certifying election results would be “a severely punishable crime.”

The legal Electoral College vote, however, has now left the Trump train almost no place left to go.

Ahead of Biden’s inauguration one major formality remains, when Congress, presided over by Vice President Mike Pence, opens up and counts the electoral votes on January 6.

In the latest sign of a shifting tide, the staunchly Trump-supporting editorial board of The Wall Street Journal told Trump that his time is up.

“President Trump’s legal challenges have run their course, and he and the rest of the Republican Party can help the country and themselves by acknowledging the result and moving on,” it said.





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