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Sunday,25-September-2022

Politics

I’m just ‘pradhan sevak’ of 130 crore people: Modi

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Donning a Himachali cap, Narendra Modi on Tuesday said in the last eight years of his government, he never thought of himself as the Prime Minister (PM), but as a ‘pradhan sevak’ (prime servant) of the country.

Also all these years were devoted to welfare of the people, good governance and security of each Indian.

“In the last eight years not even once did I vision myself as the PM. Only when I sign documents do I have the responsibility of the PM but as soon as the file is gone, I’m no longer a PM. I’m just a pradhan sevak of 130 crore people who are everything in my life and my life is also for you,” Modi said addressing a huge gathering at the historic Ridge.

Amid the chants of ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, Prime Minister Modi earlier reached Himachal Pradesh capital to participate in the Garib Kalyan Sammelan.

On arrival, he was extended a rousing reception by party workers and sympathizers, some donning traditional dresses, who were awaiting his arrival for several hours. Many women were present en route, waving their hands at the Prime Minister’s arrival.

Amid the presence of Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, whom Modi described as his friend, and Union Minister Anurag Thakur on the dais, Modi in his 40-minute address in Hindi said, “Today is a very special day in my life. I am privileged that I was given a chance to honour my motherland. I am thankful to you all who have come in such a large number to bestow their blessings.”

Saying that nearly 200 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in India so far, he said, “During this Covid-19 pandemic, I also got the chance to take care of the children who lost their parents to the disease. Our government took the decision to look after these children. I also sent some monetary assistance to these children through cheques yesterday.”

Sounding poll bugle in Himachal Pradesh later this year, Modi listed out the achievements of the BJP government in Centre. “Before 2014, there was concern about the security of the country, today we are proud of surgical strike-air strike.

“Our motto is to empower the poor and address each and every problem they face.”

During the roadshow, Modi came out of the cavalcade and accepted greetings of the people by taking a stroll on The Mall. Chief Minister Thakur was accompanying him.

The focus of the visit is the Assembly polls, which are slated later this year, in the hill state. Modi often recalls his special bond with the state. He is also trying to keep his party’s ‘double engine government’ on the track by recapitulating milestones the state achieved through Centre’s welfare schemes.

Speaking at the Garib Kalyan Sammelan, Thakur hailed Prime Minister Modi’s leadership.

“Under PM Modi’s leadership, we have recovered from the Covid crisis. The double engine government in Himachal Pradesh has tried to work for the development of the state in the last four years.

“With your blessings, we will form our government again in Himachal Pradesh,” an elated Thakur said.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Thakur said, “I warmly welcome our PM on his visit to Devbhoomi Himachal. The relationship between PM Modi and the people of the state is very strong.”

Maharashtra

India reports 4,777 fresh Covid infection, 23 deaths

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India on Sunday reported 4,777 fresh Covid infection in the last 24 hours, against 4,912 Covid cases reported on previous day, said the Union Health Ministry.

In the same period, the country has recorded 23 more Covid-related deaths, taking the national fatalities tally to 5,28,510 as per the report.

Meanwhile, the active caseload of the country presently stands at 43,994 cases, accounting for 0.10 per cent of the country’s total positive cases.

The recovery of 5,196 patients in the last 24 hours took the cumulative tally to 4,39,95,610. Consequently, India’s recovery rate stands at 98.72 per cent.

Meanwhile, India’s Daily Positivity rate has been reported to be 1.58 per cent, while the Weekly Positivity Rate in the country currently also stands at 1.63 per cent.

Also in the same period, a total of 3,02,283 tests were conducted across the country, increasing the overall tally to over 89.36 crore.

As of Sunday morning, India’s Covid-19 vaccination coverage exceeded 217.56 crore.

Over 4.09 crore adolescents have been administered with a first dose of Covid-19 jab since the beginning of vaccination drive for this age bracket.

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National News

‘Politically motivated’, Bilkis Bano case convict to SC on plea challenging release of accused

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A convict in the Bilkis Bano case has told the Supreme Court that the petition challenging Gujarat government’s remission order is “speculative and politically motivated”.

The plea filed by Radheysham Bhagwandas Shah said: “This court not only on the ground of locus and maintainability, but also on the ground of such speculative and politically motivated petition, should dismiss the said plea with heavy hand and impose an exemplary cost so that such politically motivated petition by strangers are not encouraged in the future.”

The plea cited a number of the top court judgments, including Janata Dal vs H.S. Chowdhary (1992), Simranjit Singh Mann vs UOI (1992) and Subramanian Swamy vs Raju (2013), in which it was consistently held in clear terms that a third party who is a total stranger to the prosecution has no ‘locus standi’ in criminal matters.

The convict also referred to the apex court judgment dated May 13, 2022 on the merits of the case, which after hearing all the parties came out with a categorical judgment that only the Gujarat government’s policy of premature release would be applicable, which prevailed at the time of conviction and not a subsequent policy at the time of consideration of remission.

Shah was challenging the plea filed by former CPI-M MP Subhasini Ali, journalist Revati Laul and professor Roop Rekha Verma against the release of 11 men convicted for the gang-rape of Bilkis Bano and multiple murders during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

A similar plea was also filed by Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra.

On September 9, the apex court had directed the Gujarat government to file all records, which formed the basis for granting remission to all the accused in the case. It directed the state government to file its response within two weeks and also asked advocate Rishi Malhotra, representing some of the accused, to file a response.

Shah’s plea contended that if such type of third-party petitions are entertained by the apex court, it would not only unsettle the settled position of law, but would also be an open invitation to any member of the public to jump in any criminal matter before a court of law.

Shah argued that the plea is nothing but a gross abuse of Article 32, as on one hand, the petitioners plead that they do not have the copy of the remission order and yet without ascertaining the reasons for grant of remission, the petitioners have sought quashing of the remission order.

It further argued that the apex court had categorically held that a total stranger in a criminal case cannot be permitted to question the correctness of a decision, and if that was to be permitted, any and every person could challenge a criminal prosecution/proceeding recorded day in and day out by courts even if the person convicted do not desire to do so and are inclined to acquiesce in the decision.

“Interestingly enough, neither the state nor the victim nor even the complainant has approached this court, and thus it is respectfully submitted that if such cases are sought to be entertained by this court, a settled position of law would certainly become an unsettled position of law,” Shah’s plea added.

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International News

Iran will restrict Internet access in country until calm is restored to streets

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 Iranian authorities said they will restrict Internet access in the country until calm is restored to the streets, as protests over the death of a young woman in the custody of the morality police rocked the Islamic Republic, media reported.

Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets in protest since the death last week of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was apprehended in Tehran and taken to a ‘re-education centre’, apparently for not wearing her Hijab properly.

Since Friday, demonstrations have taken place in at least 40 cities nationwide, including the capital Tehran, with protesters demanding an end to violence and discrimination against women as well as an end to compulsory wearing of the Hijab, CNN reported.

Dozens of protesters have reportedly been killed in the resulting clashes with security forces.

Amnesty International said on Friday that at least 30 people, including four children, had died. According to state media the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), 35 people have died.

Authorities hope that by restricting the Internet, they can bring the protests under control, CNN reported.

Speaking to state broadcaster IRIB on Friday, Iran’s Minister of Communications Ahmad Vahidi said, “Until the riots end, the Internet will have limitations. To prevent riot organization through social media, we are obliged to create Internet limitations.”

Vahidi’s comments came after videos on social media showed scenes of public defiance, with women removing and burning their headscarves and demonstrators chanting such slogans as, “women, life, freedom.”

The move to further restrict the Internet also followed a call by the United Nations for an independent investigation into Amini’s death and for Iran’s security forces to refrain from using ‘disproportionate force’ on the protesters.

Amini’s death has now become a symbol of the violent oppression women have faced in Iran for decades, and her name has spread around the globe, with world leaders invoking her even at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City this week, CNN reported.

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