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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

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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about the controversy surrounding a recent circular by the I&B Ministry as a means to curb fake news, which was later withdrawn, and the uneasy relationship between the media and government, Sitharaman said, “Why would media lose trust with us?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

NIA raids locations in western UP, Punjab over ISIS-inspired module probe

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New Delhi:The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday morning conducted raids at several places in western Uttar Pradesh and Punjab in connection with the investigation into a suspected ISIS-inspired module. A case was recently registered against the suspected module.

Sources said that the police officials detained two persons for questioning from Athsaini village in Garhmukteshwar tehsil. They were being interrogated by the police till last report came in.

The agency rounded up a 50-year-old resident of Bulandshahr, who runs a general store and has spent over 25 years in Saudi Arabia.

 

Notably, this is the third time that raids have been conducted by the NIA in Hapur area of Uttar Pradesh while the searches in Amroha have been carried out for the second time.

Several teams of the counter-terror probe agency launched the searches simultaneously in Uttar Pradesh’s Amroha and Bulandshahr besides Punjab’s Ludhiana, and several places early in the day, a senior NIA official said.

The raids that were still underway, kicked off after the NIA got leads from those arrested during their interrogation. The agency is looking into the role of a foreign mastermind behind the new module.

The action comes in the wake of a case it registered on December 20 under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Explosive Substances Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

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Armed robbers loot passengers onboard Jammu-Delhi Duronto Express

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New Delhi: Unidentified assailants, carrying guns and sharp-edged weapons, barged inside two coaches of Jammu-Delhi Duronto Express and looted the passengers on Thursday morning.

A group of about seven to ten armed assailants robbed passengers onboard B3 and B7 coaches. The incident took place in the early morning hours in Badli station, on the outskirts of Delhi.

The incident came to light after a passenger filed a complaint through the railways’ complaints portal. Passenger Ashwani Kumar, in his complaint, claimed that passengers of B3 and B7 coaches of the train were targeted by the armed men as it neared the Delhi Sarai Rohilla station.

 

“As train number 12266, which stops only at its source and destination stations, was approaching the Delhi station, stopped at around 3:30 am awaiting signal, seven to 10 miscreants entered coaches B3 and B7 of the train,” Kumar said.

The miscreants snatched mobiles, gold jewellery, cash and other valuable items from multiple passengers. The entire robbery took place within 10 to 15 minutes.
A case has been filed.

Railway Protection Force (RPF) has initial leads in the case and action will be taken against culprits, said the Chief Public Relation Officer (CPRO) Northern Railways.

“The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has initial leads in the matter. The culprits will be nabbed soon and stern action will be taken against them,” a Northern Railway spokesperson said.

Kumar later added that the passengers tried to reach the train attendant and TT after the incident and found them after 20 minutes. “The irony is that neither staff nor security personnel were available there at the time of the mishap,” the passenger claimed.

The complainant claimed that when he could not find the TT or the attendant, he contacted the Delhi Police after which an FIR was registered at the destination station.

“… The attendant told us that there was no security personnel available in the train. We are not safe even in AC coaches and imagine the security in sleeper class and general coaches where passengers enter the train even without tickets… ,” Kumar wrote in his complaint.

Several persons took to social media questioning rail security and safety of passengers again with this incident.

The Jammu Tawi-Delhi Sarai Rohilla Express (Train no 12266) has a travel time of 9 hours with one halt at Ludhiana.

The Duronto Expresses are one of the fastest trains in India. It has only AC coaches.

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SC partially strikes down stringent rules on Maharashtra dance bars

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside certain provisions of a law imposing restrictions on the licensing and functioning of dance bars in Maharashtra.

A bench headed by Justice A K Sikri quashed certain provisions of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women (Working therein) Act, 2016.

The top court allowed orchestra and added that tips can be given but showering of cash and coins is not allowed inside bars.

 

SC upheld the condition of fixed timings of dance bars in Maharashtra from 6 pm to 11.30 pm.

Supreme Court said, “There cannot be a total prohibition on dance bars. No licence has been granted by Maharashtra since 2005. There may be regulations but that should not amount to a total prohibition.”

The court quashed conditions of Maharashtra government of putting CCTV cameras in dance bars of Mumbai, giving licence to people of good character as ‘vague’.
It also repealed a rule that segregated dancing stage from the bar area where drinks are served.

The Court has also struck down a condition by which dance bars should be 1 km away from educational and religious places.

The top court has upheld a rule of Maharashtra government by which working women should have a contract so they can’t be exploited, however, quashed a rule of monthly salary for bar dancers.

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