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Contentious Citizenship Bill passed in LS

Agencies

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New Delhi, Dec 9: The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on Monday cleared the first test in the Lok Sabha, with 293 members voting in favour of the bill’s introduction and 82 against it.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the contentious Bill in the Lok Sabha and said that it is not even 0.001 per cent against the minorities in the country.

“This Bill is not even 0.001 per cent against minorities in the country,” Shah said in the House, amid much uproar by the opposition.

 

“Why do we need this Bill today? After independence, if Congress had not done partition on the basis on religion, then, today we would have not needed this Bill. Congress did partition on the basis of religion,” Shah commented while taking potshots at the opposition party.

“If any Muslim from these three (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh) nations applies for citizenship according to our law, then we will consider it, but the person won’t get the benefit of this amendment as the person has not faced religious persecution,” he further said.

“Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Parsis and Jains have been discriminated against. So this bill will give these persecuted people citizenship. Also, the allegation that this bill will take away the rights of Muslims is wrong,” Shah said.

OPPOSITION PROTESTS OVER RELIGIOUS DIVIDE

As Amit Shah introduced the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Lok Sabha, the House erupted in protests with AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi comparing the Home Minister to Hitler and being reprimanded by Speaker Om Birla.

Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury slammed the Bill and said, “It nothing but a targeted legislation over minority people of our country”, to which Amit Shah hit back and said, “This Bill is not even .001% against minorities in the country”.

Asaduddin Owaisi in Lok Sabha: I appeal to you (Speaker), save country from such a law & save Home Minister also otherwise like in Nuremberg race laws and Israel’s citizenship act, Home Minister’s name will be featured with Hitler and David Ben-Gurion. #CitizenshipAmendmentBill2019

Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy said, “This bill is divisive and unconstitutional, it violates Article 14 of the Constitution. This law is against everything our founding fathers including Dr Ambedkar envisioned.”

Owaisi took the criticism to another level and said, “I appeal to you (Speaker), save country from such a law and save Home Minister also otherwise like in Nuremberg race laws and Israel’s citizenship act, Home Minister’s name will be featured with Hitler and David Ben-Gurion.”

To this the Speaker warned Owaisi and said the comment will be expunged the House records.

WHAT IS THE CITIZENSHIP BILL

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to change the six-decade-old Citizenship Act and grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan facing religious persecution in these neighbouring countries.

Members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but be given Indian citizenship, according to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), 2019.

“In Citizenship Act, in Section 2 in sub-section (i), in clause (b) the following proviso shall be inserted namely:- “provided that any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December 2014 and who has been exempted by the central government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act 1946 or any rule or order made thereunder shall not be treated as illegal migrants for the purposes of this Act,” the Bill said.

Such refugees will be given Indian citizenship after they have resided in India for five years (six years in CAB 2016), instead of 11 years earlier, it said.

The Bill also proposes to give immunity to such refugees facing legal cases after being found illegal migrants. (AGENCIES)

Bill not even .001 % against minorities: Shah

New Delhi, Dec 9: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday introduced contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Lok Sabha and said that it is not even .001 per cent against minorities in the country.

“This Bill is not even .001 per cent against minorities in the country,” Shah said in the House, amid much uproar by the opposition.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.

Through this bill, Indian citizenship will be provided to the members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from the three countries to India till December 31, 2014, to put an end to them being treated as illegal immigrants in the country.

It is important to note that the Bill was passed by the Lower House of the Parliament earlier this year but lapsed with the term of the previous Lok Sabha during the first term of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government in the Centre. (Agencies)


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Grassroots democracy:It is raining sops for Panches and Sarpanches in J&K

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Jan 17:  From insurance cover to paid holiday, Jammu and Kashmir government has gone all out to open purse strings for Panchayat representatives in the Union Territory.

 At least 35 Sarpanches from the Union Territory are on a 10 day tour of Maharashtra and Gujarat since January 10.

 “We (Sarpanches) are being taken to various cities. We will also get to know how the Panchayati Raj system works there,” said one of the Sarpanches, who is part of the tour. 

 

An official of Rural Development Department said the second leg of tour for Sarpanches would start from January 23. “Centre has directed J&K administration to strengthen the Panchayati Raj system in the Union Territory. Organizing tours is part of providing additional incentives to Sarpanches,” he said.

Similarly, over 40,000 Panchayat members are being brought under the insurance cover in Jammu and Kashmir at par with government employees.

“The demand was raised by a group of Sarpanches and Panches who met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in September last year. Following which, Centre told J&K administration to take all measures in this regard,” the official said.

Sources said J&K administration is finalizing modalities for providing life insurance cover to the Panchayat Raj representatives. “Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam has held several meetings with Financial Commissioner Finance Department and authorities of Rural Development Department. Discussion is going over amount of risk cover and the premium,” sources said.

Sources said once the process is finalized, government would float tenders for engaging insurance company. “Centre believes that insurance cover would provide a sense of security to Panchayat members,” they said.

Filling the political gap, government has also decided to treat Panchayat members and councilors as ‘VIPs’ on Republic Day celebrations in Kashmir.  As per official documents, district development commissioner Srinagar has been directed to prepare a list of invitees.

“Invitees shall include VVIP and VIPs. They include chairperson of BDCs, Panches, Sarpanches and councilors,” the document reads. 

Earlier, leaders of political parties were being invited as VIPs.   Centre, as part of its initiative to empower around 40,000 elected local representatives in J&K, had earlier enhanced the financial powers of Panchayats 10-fold from Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh, and that of block councils from Rs 25,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh.

There are 21 departments including Rural Development, Social Welfare, Health, Education, Power, Horticulture, Fisheries and Agriculture, which come under the administrative control of Panchayat members, the official said.

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Polls to nearly 13,000 gram panchayats likely in Feb

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Jan 17: The elections to the nearly 13,000 vacant posts of panch and sarpanch in gram panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to be held next month and a notification is this regard is expected to be issued on January 25, officials said on Friday.

If the polls take place, it will be the first elections in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into union territories in August last year.

The elections to about 13,000 vacant posts of panch and sarpanch in gram panchayats is likely to be held next month and a notification is expected to be issued on January 25, a Home Ministry official said.

 

The entire election process is expected to be over by February end.

The posts were lying vacant since November last year when the elections to the local bodies were held.

Out of Kashmir”s 20,093 panch and sarpanch seats, more than 12,500 seats have remained vacant since then.

The announcement to the polls is likely to come amidst the visit of 36 union ministers to Jammu and Kashmir beginning Saturday.

The 2018 polls to the local bodies had witnessed poor participation with two major regional political parties — the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) — boycotting it.

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LG reviews Jammu lake project, says admin will expedite works

Press Trust of India

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Jammu, Jan 17: Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu reviewed the progress of a number of projects in the winter capital of the Union territory on Friday and said the administration will expedite the works.

He visited the market place and tourism reception centre to assess the facilities there. During a visit to the Tawi river bank the L-G was briefed by Ajeet Sahu, the principal secretary of the Irrigation and Flood Control Department, about the progress of its beautification project and the Jammu lake project.

During his visits, Murmu was accompanied by top divisional-level officials and heads of departments.

 

Asserting that the administration was trying to expedite the projects, the L-G said, “We don”t know what had happened in the past, but we will carry it from here and see to it that these are completed.”

In June last year, the Jammu and Kashmir government had cancelled GR Infra Projects Limited”s contract for developing the artificial Tawi lake. The administration is set to release fresh tenders to resume work.

A revised detailed project report was framed, according to which Rs 51.57 crore shall be required to complete the project and Rs 4.97 crore to undo the damage caused due to floods till date, officials said.

The project, launched in 2009 by the Congress-NC government, was marred by delays and missed six deadlines before work came to a standstill in 2018.

As per the project plan, an auto-mechanical barrage would be constructed on the river Tawi, one kilometre downstream of main Tawi bridge. This will help create an artificial lake at Belicharana. The 1,500-metre-long and 600-metre-wide artificial lake, a first-of-its-kind here, will give a new dimension to tourism in Jammu city, officials said.

In phase-II of the project, beautification and embankment works are to be taken up under Tawi River Front Development Project for which an MoU has already been signed by Jammu Development Authority (JDA) with the Sabarmati River Front Development Corporation.

Before beginning the tour Murmu paid obeisance at the famous Raghunath temple in the morning.

SSF guarding LG strengthened with intake of 19 more cops

Press Trust of India

Jammu, Jan 17: The special security force (SSF) guarding Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu has been strengthened with induction of 19 more police personnel and support staff, officials said.

As per the order issued by Special Secretary, Home Department, Shakeel-Ur-Rehman, 13 personnel including three officers and six police staff have been sent on deputation with the SSF with immediate effect on Thursday.

This step has been done to strengthen the security cover around the L-G, they said adding that the force will now have a total of 80 well-trained officers.

In 2018, the then State Administrative Council (SAC) of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir had approved a bill for setting up the force for providing proximate security to the governor.

The bill, which was later given approval, contains provisions related to the constitution and regulation of a separate security force in the state for providing proximate security to the governor, members of his immediate family and matters connected therewith.

Those posted with the SSF, like their counterparts in the SSG, have commando training.

The legal framework related to constitution and regulation of a separate security force in Jammu and Kashmir for providing proximate security to the chief minister, members of his immediate family and other connected matters is contained in the Jammu and Kashmir Special Security Group (SSG) Act, 2000.

The SSG, which was set up in 1996 after the National Conference president Farooq Abdullah came to power, will continue to provide security to the chief minister and the former CMs.

The SSG at present provides security to four former CMs including Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, Mehbooba Mufti of the PDP and Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress.

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