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Changed political situation will force Bengal to help BSF in checking infiltration:Amit Shah

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The political situation in West Bengal will soon be such that the local administration will be forced to assist the Border Security Force (BSF) to check illegal infiltration and cross-border smuggling along the India-Bangladesh border areas in the state, according to Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

“I understand that without the help of the local administration it is extremely difficult to check illegal infiltration and cross border smuggling. However, I would like to assure you that the political situation here will be such that you will get that help. Pressure from the people will force the local administration to provide that assistance,” Shah said, while addressing a programme on the occasion of the foundation stone laying ceremony of Maitri Sangrahalaya (museum) located at border outpost Haridaspur in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal on Thursday afternoon.

Shah’s comments come at a time when the West Bengal and Union governments are at loggerheads over the extension of the BSF’s authority up to 50 kilometres from the borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh.

A notification issued in this regard by the Union Home Ministry empowered BSF personnel to conduct search operations, arrest suspects and make seizures within 50 kilometres from the borders.

Shah said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aware of the difficulties faced by the BSF personnel posted at the borders.

“So, the Union government is trying to come out with schemes so that the personnel posted at the borders get maximum opportunity to spend time with their family members. The Union government is also making arrangements to minimise the difficulties of security personnel posted at the borders,” Shah added.

West Bengal Trinamool Congress General Secretary, Kunal Ghosh said, “The Union Home Minister is trying to convert BSF into a cadre wing of the BJP. He should refrain from doing so.”

Earlier on Thursday, Amit Shah inaugurated six floating border outposts of the BSF at Hingalganj in North 24 Parganas district and also flagged off a boat ambulance there.

National News

Can’t stop circulation of judicial officer’s video without users’ numbers: WhatsApp to Delhi HC

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In wake of the Delhi High Court ordering the taking down of sexually explicit video of a judicial officer, social media platforms on Friday told the court that they have removed the video and blocked several URLs.

However, WhatsApp, the Meta-owned instant messaging app, told the court that it is not possible to erase the video from the platform until unless it is provided with users’s phone numbers and the court’s order.

Appearing for WhatsApp, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said that if they are provided with phone numbers, they will pull down the video if ordered by the court.

At this, the single judge bench of Justice Yashwant Varma told the plantiff’s counsel Ashish Dixit, to provide the phone numbers so that WhatsApp can take requisite steps.

Justice Varma listed the matter for next hearing on February 8.

The WhatsApp argument took place when the court was hearing a plea by the woman present in the video, who is reportedly the judicial officer’s steno. She moved the court arguing that the video is fabricated.

The Delhi HC on late November 30, directed the Centre and social media platforms to ensure that the sexually explicit video of a judicial officer, which had gone viral on the internet on November 29, be not shared, distributed, forwarded or posted further.

Justice Varma had also asked for the video to be taken down and blocked from all ISPs, messaging platforms, and social media platforms.

“Bearing in mind the sexually explicit nature of the contents of that video and taking into consideration the imminent, grave and irreparable harm that is likely to be caused to the privacy rights of the plaintiff, an ad interim ex parte injunction is clearly warranted,” the court had said.

The plea had sought a permanent direction to restrain the social media platforms from publishing or telecasting the video in question.

The court had also observed that the provisions under Section 354C of IPC as well as Section 67A of the Information and Technology Act “would appear to be violated” if further circulation, sharing and distribution of the video wasn’t restrained.

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National News

Drama in Himachal as Congress Legislature Party meeting rescheduled for third time

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High drama continued ahead of the crucial meeting of newly- elected 40 Congress legislators of Himachal Pradesh to nominate the legislature party leader as it was delayed till Friday night, for the third time in a row.

Party observers — Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda and AICC in-charge for state Rajiv Shukla — earlier in the day met Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar to hand over list of MLAs showing the strength to form the government.

The meeting, which is now slated for the night, was postponed with Member of Parliament and state unit chief Pratibha Singh’s supporters raised slogans in her favour, demanding her appointment as the Chief Minister.

The wife of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, she is believed to be the frontrunner for the top job.

A day after getting majority in the 68-member Assembly, 40 Congress lawmakers were to meet in the state capital in the presence of party’s observers to nominate the legislative party leader.

Besides Pratibha Singh, former party chief Sukhwinder Sukhu and Mukesh Agnihotri are considered key frontrunners for the Chief Minister’s post.

At the meeting, a decision will be taken to authorise Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge to finalise the name of the legislative party leader.

The Congress on Thursday got an absolute majority in the Assembly elections, winning 40 seats – six more than the half-way mark of 34, while the outgoing BJP was reduced to 25.

While outgoing Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur won, many of his ministers, including Suresh Bhardwaj, Ram Lal Markanda, Sarveen Chaudhary, Rakesh Pathania, Govind Thakur, Virender Kanwar, and Rajiv Saizal lost the election.

Three Independents, comprising two BJP rebels and one Congress, emerged victorious.

Himachal Pradesh has not voted any incumbent government back to power since 1985.

Considering the family legacy and contribution, Pratibha Singh had sought votes in the Assembly polls on development carried out by her husband Virbhadra Singh during his six terms as the Chief Minister.

Pratibha Singh, who had not contested the Assembly polls, missed no opportunity to remind the electorate that the victory in Assembly election “will be a tribute to him (Virbhadra Singh)”.

“Not only the Congress supporters but also from other parties voted for us as a tribute for Virbhadra Singh,” said Pratibha Singh, who won the Mandi seat in the 2021 Lok Sabha bypoll and was appointed state chief well-ahead of the Assembly polls

She had spearheaded the poll campaign on the legacy of Virbhadra Singh, and banked on the party’s promise to bring back the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) that will benefit 225,000 employees, a crucial vote bank.

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Maharashtra

‘Love jihad’ law in Maharashtra very soon? Fadnavis says will study laws of other states

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Days after Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s comments on “love jihad” with reference to the Shraddha Walker murder case, Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the government has not taken any decision on the “love jihad” law yet but they will study laws of the other states.

This comes after the press conference of Shraddha’s father, Vikas Walker. Shraddha was strangled by her live-in partner Aaftab. He also cut her body into 35 pieces which he kept in a 300-litre fridge for almost three weeks at his residence in Mehrauli in south Delhi in May this year, before dumping them across the city over several days.

Vikas Walkar claimed on Friday that she would have been alive if the Maharashtra Police had helped him.

He alleged that the Vasai Police showed “laxity” in the investigation of the case, however, hailing the combined probe by the Delhi Police and the Vasai Police.

Earlier, in November, Speaking to ANI, Shraddha’s father, Vikas Walker had said that he suspected a love jihad angle in his daughter’s case. The murder of the girl had sparked debate over ‘love jihad’ in Maharashtra. 

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