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BJP rebels in touch with us, but Congress not in a hurry: Harish Rawat




The Congress in Uttarakhand is adopting a wait and watch policy in the wake of the internal rift in state BJP in the run up to the Assembly elections scheduled early next year.

Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister and the chairman of Congress’ campaign committee, Harish Rawat, told IANS, “The Congress is not in a hurry to take any decision on BJP rebels. However, many of them are in touch with us and a final call will be taken at an appropriate time.”

Though he did not disclose any names, sources said that those who had jumped ship from the Congress to the saffron camp are eyeing a comeback, while some from the BJP too are looking to join the party, though the Congress will only back those who will prove to be beneficial to the party.

Many prominent leaders, including ex-Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, former ministers Harak Singh Rawat, Satpal Maharaj and Yashpal Arya had left the Congress for the saffron party, but some of them are reportedly upset ever since the BJP last month appointed Pushkar Singh Dhami as the new Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.

Rawat alleged that the BJP has changed three Chief Ministers in the state in recent times and its leaders are fighting for themselves, and not working for the state.

Stating that there is no dearth of issues in the state as unemployment and inflation are on the rise, Rawat said the government is in a denial mode, but the public is very much aware of the hardships they are facing.

Rejecting BJP’s charge of neglect during the 2013 Kedarnath floods when the Congress was in power in the state and he was the Chief Minister, Rawat said that relief and rehabilitation works were carried out during the Congress tenure.

He also said that the BJP should instead talk about its Covid mismanagement and the subsequent rise in unemployment in the state.

Rawat further said that ahead of the Assembly elections scheduled next year, the Congress will come up with a roadmap and tell the people how it will work for their benefit.

Rawat was recently appointed as the head of the Congress campaign committee in Uttarakhand. He is also likely to be projected as the chief ministerial face in the run-up to next year’s election.

Interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi recently appointed Ganesh Godiyal as the party’s Uttarakhand unit chief, replacing Pritam Singh who was named the legislative party leader.

Jeet Ram, Bhuwan Kapri, Tilak Raj Behar and Ranjeet Rawat have been appointed as the party’s working presidents in Uttarakhand.


Bihar: 7-yr-old boy dies after brutal assault by teacher




A seven-year-old boy died in Bihar’s Saharsa district on Friday after an alleged brutal assault by his teacher.

The victim, Aditya Kumar, was an LKG student at a private school in a village under the Sadar police station. He had been living in a hostel since the last 10 days.

His parents are residents of the adjoining Madhepura district.

According to the police, the school administration informed Aditya’s parents that he became unconscious and was admitted to a private hospital.

By the time his parents arrived, the victim died.

“We sent our child to the school cum hostel in Saharsa district on March 14. We received a phone call on Friday that Aditya became unconscious and was admitted to a private hospital. When we reached the hospital, he was already dead,” said Prakash Yadav, Aditya’s father.

“We have sent the body for post-mortem to ascertain the actual cause of death. The family members alleged that he died due to the physical assault. We are also trying to arrest the owner of the school. He is absconding. We have lodged an FIR and efforts are on to nab him,” said Brajesh Chauhan, Sub-inspector of Sadar police station.

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Maharashtra: 4 killed as truck rams into tempo on Ahmednagar-Pune highway




The accident, in which the truck driver also suffered injuries, took place near Kamargaon on the Ahmednagar-Pune highway in western Maharashtra.Four people were killed and seven others injured after a truck collided with their tempo on a highway in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra in the early hours of Thursday, said police.

The accident, in which the truck driver also suffered injuries, took place near Kamargaon on the Ahmednagar-Pune highway in western Maharashtra.

According to the police, approximately 15 people were returning to their native place in Shirur tehsil of Pune district in a vehicle after visiting some religious sites in Ahmednagar district.

A truck coming from Pune suddenly veered off from its path, jumped the divider and collided with their vehicle. Three people died on the spot, while another person succumbed to his injuries in hospital,” said an officer from the Ahmednagar police.

He said seven other passengers in the ill-fated vehicle were injured and were being treated at a hospital.

According to the police officer, a case has been filed against the truck driver under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.

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Supreme Court: Being a member of unlawful association is an offence under UAPA.




The Supreme Court on Friday held that mere membership of unlawful association is sufficient to constitute an offence under UAPA. The apex court upheld the Section 10 (a) (i) of the Unlawful Activities Prevent Act.The apex court, according to Bar and Bench report, also said all High Court decisions to the contrary are overruled. A bench of Justices MR Shah, CT Ravikumar and Sanjay Karol pronounced the verdict.

While allowing petitions of the Union government and the Assam government seeking review of the apex court’s 2011 verdicts on membership of banned outfits, the court said the Union government was required to be heard when a provision enacted by Parliament is read down.

The top court said the 2011 verdicts were passed while relying on American court decisions which cannot be done without considering the condition prevailing in India.In India right to freedom of speech and expressions is not absolute and is subject to reasonable restriction. However, decisions of the American court can be guiding light”, the bench said.

On February 9, the top court while reserving its verdict on batch of review pleas had noted that the Union of India was not heard by its two-judge benches when the 2011 verdict was passed reading down section 3 (5) of Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 (now repealed).

The top court on February 3, 2011, had acquitted suspected ULFA member Arup Bhuyan, who was held guilty by a TADA court on the basis of his alleged confessional statement before the Superintendent of Police, and said mere membership of a banned organisation will not make a person a criminal unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence or creates public disorder by violence or incitement to violence.

Similar views were taken by the apex court in two other verdicts of 2011 in Indra Das versus State of Assam and state of Kerala versus Raneef, where the bench relied upon the three US Supreme Court decisions which have rejected the doctrine of ‘guilt by association’.

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