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Crucial meetings of Kerala CPI-M to get underway today

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Amid the ongoing political turmoil involving Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Kerala, crucial party meetings are scheduled beginning Friday.

This would be the first major meeting of the party after its crushing defeat in Thrikkakara bypoll, allegations by gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh and the airline incident.

Ever since he took over in 2016 and then led the Left to a stunning record breaking win at the April 2021 Assembly polls, Vijayan probably has never faced such a turmoil.

If it all began with a crushing defeat of the CPI-M candidate at the Thrikkakara by-election early this month, things went from bad to worse for him with the “explosive” allegations by Swapna Suresh that the CM and his family were involved in the matter.

Seizing this as the best opportunity and with the Thrikkakara win behind them, the Congress launched a huge counter-attack against the chief minister, demanding his resignation, forcing the latter to go into a shell.

And when things not conducive for Vijayan, came yet another jolt when his with his party led by the Left Democratic Front convenor E.P.Jayarajan and his party secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan getting involved in unpleasant incident in an IndiGo flight, last week, when he was flying from Kannur to here.

Both Jayarajan and Balakrishnan claimed that three Youth Congress workers who were also in the same flight tried to attack Vijayan.

While Jayarajan, who was on-board the aircraft, first said the Congress activists shouted slogans after Vijayan had alighted but later reportedly changed his version saying Vijayan was present at the time of the incident. Balakrishnan too said the same.

But on Thursday, the Kerala High Court granted bail to all three saying they did not possess any weapon. The Congress top brass slammed the CPI-M claiming that they were spreading “falsehoods” and that the court could see their game plan and hence granted bail

to the three youth.

A media critic on condition of anonymity said the coming three days is crucial for Vijayan as this is the first time they are having their secretariat and state committee meeting after the crushing defeat and all the incidents like the revelation of Swapna and the airline incident.

“This is perhaps the first time ever after Vijayan became the unquestioned leader in the CPI-M that he is under a cloud. With the Assembly session starting on Monday, this is going to be additional pressure for Vijayan. Though till date there has not been even a small murmur against him, but for how long will this silence continue as the stock of both the CPI-M in general and Vijayan in particular is at its lowest. But in the light of the recent not-so-good developments, one can say that the going can get tough for Vijayan,” said the critic.

National News

Delhi HC allows impleading city govt, CBSE, NCERT in plea seeking common syllabus, curriculum across India

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The Delhi High Court has allowed the petitioner to implead the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and the Delhi government as parties to his plea challenging the syllabus and curriculum varying for each strata of society and seeking common syllabus for children across the country.

A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Yashwant Varma allowed petitioner advocate Ashwini Upadhyay to move an application to implead the above-mentioned three parties.

The court listed the matter for the next hearing on March 10.

Upadhyay argued before the court that all competitive examinations be it engineering, law and the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) should have a common syllabus.

He said: “But we have multiple syllabus at school level, how will it provide an equal opportunity for students? In Kendra Vidyalayas across the country, we have a common syllabus. Every developed country has a common syllabus in schools. It is unfortunate we are under pressure from the coaching mafia.”

He contended that as per the concerned Articles of the Constitution, students do not get equal opportunities.

Upadhyay’s plea read: “Education mafias are very powerful and have a very strong syndicate. They influence rules, regulations, policies and examinations. The bitter truth is that school mafias do not want one nation-one education board, coaching mafias do not want one nation-one syllabus, and book mafias do not want NCERT books in all schools. That is why the uniform education system up to the 12th standard has not been implemented yet.”

Provisions under the Right To Education Act which excludes madrasas, Vedic pathshalas and educational institutions imparting religious knowledge, were also challenged as per the plea.

“It is necessary to state that the purposive and harmonious construction of Articles 14, 15, 16, 21, 21A with Articles 38, 39, 46 confirms that education is a basic right of every child and the State cannot discriminate against this most important right. Right of a child should not be restricted only to free education, but must be extended to have equal quality education without discrimination on the ground of the child’s social, economic and cultural background,” the plea read.

The plea further said: “Therefore, the court may declare Sections 1(4) and 1(5) arbitrary, irrational and violative of Articles 14, 15, 16 and 21 and direct the Centre to implement common syllabus and common curriculum for the students of I-VIII standard throughout the country.”

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Crime

Teachers scam: WhatsApp chat hinting question paper leak recovered

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 The Enforcement Directorate (ED), probing the multi-crore teachers’ recruitment scam, has recovered WhatsApp chats hinting at possible advance leaking of question papers to select candidates who took the written examination for primary teachers’ posts in West Bengal in 2016.

Sources said that the selective leaking of question papers were mainly done by the youth Trinamool Congress leader, Kuntal Ghosh, who was arrested by the ED from his residence on January 21.

The probe agency has also recovered Whatsapp chats indicating that Ghosh enjoyed the patronage of former state education minister and Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee.

From the documents seized from Ghosh’s residence, the central agency officials have also recovered copies of the admit cards of certain candidates who appeared for the recruitment examination for primary teachers in 2016.

The ED sleuths have come across the names of 35 individuals who secured jobs as teachers in state- run schools by paying money to the arrested youth leader and all of them are currently employed with different schools. Each and every one of them will be questioned to take the investigation forward.

“The recruitment scam seems to be in multiple layers, which again have sub-layers involving multiple players and multiple angles. The uncovering of one layer is leading to other layers. That’s why the investigation process is getting prolonged,” said a legal associate of ED.

The fact that question papers were leaked to select candidates was established after the ED sleuths noticed that some extremely below-average candidates, as per their academic records, scored exorbitantly in the recruitment examination.

Sources said that the marks secured in their academic examinations did not justify their scores in their optical mark recognition (OMR) sheets.

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National News

Goa Police intensify night patrolling for women’s safety

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 In a bid to curb street crimes and to increase safety for women, the Goa Police on Friday announced a special four-wheeler patrol ‘Operation Jagruti’ in the state’s north district.

North Goa Superintendent of Police Nidhin Valsan told media persons that night patrolling will be intensified under this initiative.

“This exercise includes 38 Jagrut North District vehicles having 100 staff deployed from North District and other various units. There are 10 vital routes identified along with additional 40 internal routes in North Goa District in which these vehicles will be patrolling daily from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.,” he said.

Valsan said that besides this, they will attend to all the other calls received from the control room.

“The main intention of this exercise is to assist and help any distressed woman and child during odd hours,” he said.

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