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Opposition trying to paint Modi govt anti-Dalit, it will not succeed; we won’t dilute SC/ST Atrocities Act: Sitharaman

Monitor News Bureau

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New Delhi :WHILE an “irresponsible” Opposition was trying to paint the BJP as anti-Dalit, the Modi government was committed to ensuring that the SC/ST Atrocities Act is not diluted, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at the Express Adda here on Saturday.
“Those promoting these agitations want the government to be seen as anti-Dalit. But sorry, we are not giving them the opportunity. We are with SC/STs. For those who want to make political capital out of a social guarantee given by our Constitution, I am really disappointed… that instead of fighting for (SC/ST) rights, they are building distrust… For the last 60 years, you (the Opposition) haven’t done anything for them,” Sitharaman said.
She added that it was a court that had ordered change in provisions of the SC/ST Act. “These decisions are not of the government. The dilution in the Act would mean that a few benefits given to the Dalits, just to take their fight for justice a bit forward, will all go. We are not in favour. We will not dilute it,” the BJP leader said.
The Express Adda is a series of interactions with people at the centre of change.
Sitharaman said no government in the past has been put constantly on test as the Modi government. “Questions never stop. This government, if anything, has faced tonnes and tonnes of questions. We are continuously put on test… ‘Prove yourself in Delhi, Bihar, Assam… and now Karnataka’.”
She added that unlike the Opposition, the BJP never talked of losing trust in the government when it was on the other side. “When corruption was rampant, we did not lose trust… But for everything, they say, trust is gone. On the Dalit andolan (protest), the trust in Modi is gone. On media, trust is gone.”
Asked about the controversy surrounding a recent circular by the I&B Ministry as a means to curb fake news, which was later withdrawn, and the uneasy relationship between the media and government, Sitharaman said, “Why would media lose trust with us? I thought you now have a lot more opportunities to question the government… During Kapil Sabil’s time (when (Section 66 A of the IT Act was brought in), none of us lost trust in the government. Rajiv Gandhi got a bhayankar kanoon (dreadful law, on defamation), no trust was lost. Now for everything, it is either this or ‘India doesn’t exist the next morning’.”
The first woman to hold full-time charge of the Defence Ministry, Sitharaman said that after the ‘surgical strikes’ against Pakistan, “We are finishing them off at the border. If that makes the border hot, so be it. We can’t allow them to come in and after that strategise on how to deal with it… which becomes terrorism on our land. So the policy is not to keep it hot or cold, it is more to make sure that it is timely, relevant on the ground, rather than allowing them to come in and determine the rules of the game.”


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National

Special judge seeks 6 months time from SC to conclude trial

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New Delhi: A special judge holding trial in Babri Masjid demolition case, involving BJP veterans L K Advani, M M Joshi and others, Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking six more months to conclude the trial in the case.

The special judge, in a letter written in May, has informed the top court that he is due to superannuate on September 30, 2019. The matter came up for hearing on Monday before a bench headed by Justice R F Nariman, which asked the Uttar Pradesh government to apprise it by July 19 about a mechanism by which the tenure of the special judge could be extended till he delivered the verdict in the high profile case.

On April 19, 2017, the top court had ordered day-to-day trial to be concluded in two years in the case.

 
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‘Won’t meet Kharge, Azad…’: Karnataka MLAs write to Mumbai police

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Bengaluru: The 14 rebel Karnataka MLAs, staying in Mumbai’s luxury hotel, have written to state police over an alleged ‘threat’ from senior Karnataka and Maharashtra Congress leaders, including Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad.

“We’ve absolutely no intentions in meeting Mallikarjun Kharge, GN Azad or any Congress dignitaries from Maharashtra and Karnataka or any political leader as we anticipate serious threat from them,” MLAs wrote to senior police inspector, Mumbai’s Powai Police Station, according to ANI.

The rebels have been rebuffing efforts by the leaders of Karnataka’s JD(S)-Congress combine to reach out to them in a an effort to find a solution to the crisis triggered by the MLAs resigning on July 6 and then going incommunicado.

 

The coalition government, which has been wobbly since it came into being last year, is facing a serious crisis now with 16 MLAs – 13 of the Congress and three of the JD(S) – resigning from their Assembly membership.

Seeking protection, the rebel MLAs urged the police officer to make necessary arrangements to ensure that the leaders are not allowed to meet them.

“We the respected Members of Karnataka Assembly are currently staying at Renaissance Hotel Powai, would like to inform you that we have absolutely no intentions in meeting Shri Mallikarjun Kharge ji or Ghulam Nabi Azad ji or any Congress dignitaries or functionaries from Maharashtra and Karnataka Congress team leaders or any other political leaders. We anticipate serious threat from them. We hereby request you to kindly make necessary arrangements to stop these people from meeting us in case the situation arises,” the letter read.

Among the legislators who signed the letter are Shivram Hebbar, B.C. Patil, Mahesh K, Vishwanath, Muniratnam, Narayan Gowda, R Shankar, H Nagesh, Pratap Patil, Gopalaiah, Ramesh J, MTB Nagraj, Somshekar and Basavaraja.

Earlier last week, the rebel MLAs stonewalled Congress leader DK Shivakumar’s attempts to meet them. He was kept waiting for 5 hours outside the hotel and eventually detained by the Mumbai police.

On July 11, the dissident MLAs had returned to the hotel here after meeting Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar in Bengaluru.

The development came after the Supreme Court had directed them to meet the Speaker and resubmit their resignations afresh. The top court had on July 12 ordered a status quo until July 16 on a plea filed by 10 dissident MLAs of Congress and JD(S) seeking a direction to the Assembly Speaker to accept their resignation and not proceed with the applications for their disqualification.

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Cleric beaten up in Baghpat for not chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’

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New Delhi: A cleric in Baghpat has alleged that he was assaulted by a group of youth as he refused to chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’. According to the cleric, he was on his way to his home on a motorcycle when he was stopped by the miscreants.

The youth allegedly asked the cleric, Imlaur Rehman, to chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’, but when he refused to do the same, they started beating him up mercilessly. The cleric alleged that they even took off his skull cap and tried to pull his beard.

No one came to his rescue despite his cry for help. He somehow managed to escape the spot and reached to the police for help. The cops have initiated an inquiry into the case.

 

“I was going on my motorcycle when 10-12 people in a vehicle apprehended my bike. They asked me to chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and when I failed to comply, they started beating me up. They were carrying sharp weapons,” said the cleric.

“I ran to save my life and sought help from passers-by, but no one came to help me. There was no one at the police station when I reached there. Then I called my friend who helped me get in touch with concerned officials,” he added.

When his family members were informed about the incident, they reacted in anger and claimed that a handful of people were trying to disrupt communal harmony in the area. They said that strict action must be taken against such people.

Speaking to Zee News, the cleric’s brother called for action against the miscreants to forced him to chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and assaulted him. He further said that if justice was not delivered, they would ensured that a decision was taken at the panchayat level.

The police said that a case had been registered against 10-12 unidentified accused. The incident occurred between 5 and 5.30 pm on Sunday at a distance of 200 metres from Saror police station.

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