Srinagar, Jan 26: Amid heightened security, the R-Day functions on Friday passed off peacefully in Jammu and Kashmir’s winter and summer capitals.
The main flag hoisting function and ceremonial parade was held at the Maulana Azad stadium in Jammu city where state Governor N.N. Vohra unfurled the Tri-colour and took the salute at an impressive parade.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, her cabinet colleagues, Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta, high court judges and senior army police and civil officials were also present at the function.
People from across the social spectrum and school children also participated in country’s 69th Republic Day celebrations.
Smartly turned out contingents of army, paramilitary forces, state police and school children participated in the parade.
Cultural programmes by school children was a highlight of this year’s Republic Day celebrations both in Jammu city and different district headquarters of the state.
In Srinagar city, the main function was held at the Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium where Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Abdul Rehman Veeri hoisted the Tricolour and took the salute at the parade.
Extraordinary security arrangements had been made this year for the Republic Day celebrations amid intelligence inputs that a non-local female “suicide bomber” had entered Srinagar.
Mobile phone services were suspended in the Valley as a “precautionary measure”, with the authorities saying they would be restored in the afternoon.
Reports of peaceful R-Day celebrations have also come from different district headquarters of the Valley, Jammu and Ladakh regions.
Separatists had called for a shutdown across the Valley to attract international attention to the Kashmir dispute.
Meanwhile mobile internet services have been snapped in Kashmir as a precautionary measure on the occasion of Republic Day, officials said on Friday.
The internet services on mobile phones and data cards were suspended on Thursday as part of the security drill of Republic Day.
Although it’s a normal practice in Kashmir to suspend the internet services on Republic Day and Independence Day, this is the first time that these services were withdrawn a day earlier.
Security forces have been deployed in strength at strategic locations in the city.
The law-enforcing agencies are carrying out random frisking and searches of vehicles entering the city.
This year, the main Republic Day function will be held at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium instead of the regular venue, Bakshi Stadium.
The area around the cricket stadium was sealed on Wednesday for full-dress rehearsal of the Republic Day parade.
Traffic police has issued an advisory for movement of vehicles between the city centre and south Kashmir and no vehicle will be permitted to move along the Ram Munshi Bagh-TRC stretch of the road during the rehearsal and Republic Day function.
Power should go into hands of people:LG Murmu
Jammu, Dec 9: Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor G C Murmu on Monday favoured the early assembly polls in the Union Territory and said the power should go into the hands of the people “as soon as possible”.
He was speaking to reporters after dedicating a 72-metre-long multi cell box type load class 70 bridge to the nation at Draj in Rajouri district.
Responding to a question of media persons about holding of assembly elections in the UT, Murmu said “This is what I am saying that the power should go into the hands of the people as soon as possible. This is what we are saying always.”
Asked further about the specific time frame when the pools will be held, he said “It has its own process.”
General Officer Commanding-in-chief, Northern Command, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh and General Officer Commanding, White Knight Corps, Lt Gen Harsha Gupta were also present on the occasion.
The bridge, constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), spans over Draj nullah and connects the Draj area to Kotranka tehsil under Rajouri district.
Earlier, the Lieutenant governor praised the BRO for their dedication towards nation building through infrastructure development and war preparedness through construction of roads, bridges and tunnels.
Addressed the gathering of local residents, Army and General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF), Murmu said the Draj bridge is important for military as well as for socio-economic development of Rajouri district.
“This bridge will facilitate all weather and speedy movement of the Army troops as well as locals,” he said, and congratulated the BRO for the execution of work with professionalism which will strengthen the road network in the area.
The Lieutenant governor complimented the Army for their unwavering dedication to duty and high standard of professionalism.
He also appreciated the support extended by the local residents and the civil administration in overcoming various challenges faced by the BRO during the construction of the bridge.
Chief Engineer, Project Sampark, Brig Y K Ahuja said the upgradation of the existing causeway with the national highway specifications was essential as it is an important line of communication.
“Now the Draj Bridge will provide all weather movements without any restriction on plying of heavy traffic as it is designed for load class 70,” he said.
Contentious Citizenship Bill passed in LS
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)
Govt to cover all students under scholarship schemes
Srinagar, Dec 9: The Government Monday announced to cover all the students under various Scholarship Schemes, besides providing financial assistance to the physically challenged and persons above age of 70 years in the Union Territory.
It was revealed during a review meeting of field functionaries of Social Welfare Department chaired by Director General Social Welfare, Kashmir, Rukhsana Gani here at Markazi Falah-i-Itfaal, here today.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Director Social Welfare, Kashmir, Zeenat Aara, Assistant Director Administration, Dr Syed Farhana Asgar, Assistant Director Schemes, Najeeb Lateef, District Social Welfare Officer, Srinagar Muhammad Ashraf Akhoon besides Tehsil Social Welfare officers of Kashmir Division.
Highlighting the role of the Department, the Director General asked the officers to ensure that all the deserving people get benefit of these schemes.
The field functionaries were informed about the new guidelines for enrolment of beneficiaries under different schemes during the meeting.
The meeting was informed that 65000 new beneficiaries under Integrated Social Security Scheme (ISSS) and NSAP (National Social Assistance Programme) have been sanctioned by the Centre. The meeting was further informed that 10775 beneficiaries in Srinagar, 2912 in Ganderbal, 7196 in Budgam, 8269 in Anantnag, 5291 in Pulwama, 4147 Kulgam, 767 in Shopian, 8249 in Baramulla, 9204 in Kupwara and 8190 in Bandipora would be covered under ISSS and NSAF schemes.
The meeting also decided to extend the last date for filling National Scholarship Scheme forms by Dec 31, 2019.
The Director General said that the date was extended to cover more deserving students. She also said that Internet Kiosks established at Deputy Commissioner Offices and Tourist Reception Center will facilitate the students in applying for scholarships.
She also said there is a need for generating greater awareness among the masses about these schemes so that the benefits reach to the targeted sections of the society.
Later, the DG along with other officers visited Markazi Falah-i-Itfaal to take on-spot appraisal of facilities being provided to the children.