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Tuesday,17-May-2022
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Punjab to abolish VIP culture in jails

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In a major crackdown on the nexus of gangsters and criminals operating from jails, the Punjab government teams have confiscated 710 mobile phones from prisons in a specially-launched drive. Additionally, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has decided to abandon the special cells in jails for VIP prisoners.

Divulging the details, the Chief Minister said that “during this special drive carried out between March 16 and May 10, a total of 710 mobile phones have been recovered from jail inmates”.

He said these phones were used by gangsters and smugglers to run their rackets from inside the jail.

The Chief Minister said that a probe is on to nab the persons on whose names these numbers were registered.

He also said that action will be taken against the jail staff who were involved in sneaking these phones into the prisons.

For abolishing VIP culture in jails, the government has decided to abandon the VIP cells and transform them into administrative blocks.

The Chief Minister said that those lodged in jails are punished by courts for violating the law, and they cannot enjoy facilities while serving a jail term.

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Amarnath pilgrims should have hassle free Darshan: Amit Shah

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 Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday directed all stakeholders to ensure a hassle free Darshan during the upcoming Amarnath Yatra.

Reviewing the preparedness for this annual pilgrimage at a meeting here, he directed that arrangements should be made for all essential facilities including movement, lodging, electricity, water, communication, and healthcare of the pilgrims.

Noting that this is resumption of the pilgrimage after the Covid-19 induced lockdowns, he said that adequate arrangements must be made to deal with the health-related issues of the pilgrims due to the high altitude.

Shah has asked the telecom department to set up a sufficient number of mobile towers on the Yatra route for better communication and dissemination of information. He ordered the deployment of equipment to open the route immediately in case of landslides.

The Home Minister instructed to have adequate numbers of oxygen cylinders and medical beds at altitudes above 6,000 feet and deploy ambulances and helicopters in case of any medical emergency.

The Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir informed that for the first time, every Amarnath Yatri would be given a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) card and they would be insured for Rs 5 lakh each. Earlier, the RFID was was given to a vehicle.

“A tent city, WiFi hotspots and proper lighting will be arranged on the Yatra route along with online live Darshan of the holy cave, and live telecast of the morning and evening aarti at the Amarnath cave will be organised at the Base Camp,” he informed.

The meeting was attended by Manoj Sinha, Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Union Home Secretary, Director of Intelligence Bureau, Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir and senior officials of various ministries and departments of the Central government to discuss the logistics.

The Union Home Minister held a separate meeting with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, LG Manoj Sinha, Union Home Secretary, Director of Intelligence Bureau, Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir and senior officers of security agencies to discuss security matters related to the Yatra.

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Politics

Amarinder reminds Aam Aadmi Party of opposing extension of BSF jurisdiction

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Welcoming the realisation on part of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab of the harsh security challenges state is faced with by seeking additional central security forces, former Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh on Tuesday reminded the party of its strong opposition to the Central government’s move last year when it decided to extend the operational jurisdiction of the Border Security Forces (BSF) from 15 to 30 km.

“At that time, both the AAP as well as the Congress leaders created hell about the Centre decision, but good, now AAP at least has realized the need and importance of that decision (to extend operational jurisdiction of the BSF),” he said in a statement here.

Amarinder reiterated his warning that Punjab is faced with serious security threats from across the border.

“So far, the AAP government, particularly its Delhi-based leader Arvind Kejriwal consistently denied everything, but now they seem to have realized the intensity of the threat and have requested the Centre for extra forces.”

The former Chief Minister hoped the state government, instead of adopting a confrontationist attitude, will co-operate and co-ordinate with the Central government to handle all the security and other issues Punjab is challenged with.

“I have always emphasised the need for coordination instead of confrontation with the Centre and thankfully the AAP seems to have realised it, although a bit too late,” he said.

At the same time, Capt. Amarinder Singh had a word of advice for Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

“Remember, Punjab is privileged to have the best police force in the country, confident and capable of doing wonders with a proven record with a lot of sacrifices, and have faith in your police force,” he told Mann, while adding, assistance from the Centre must not be a permanent feature.

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BJP not against caste-based census: Sushil Modi

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 A day after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar decided to call an all-party meeting to discuss the issue of caste-based census, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday claimed that his party is not against the proposal.

His statement comes at a time when BJP Bihar wing leaders realised that they should not stop or delay any further caste census in the state after the announcement of Nitish Kumar.

BJP leadership of Bihar have realised that it is better for them to catch the bus rather than missing it. The idea would be to at least claim before the people of the state that they were not against the process, a political expert said.

“The saffron party never opposed caste-based census in Bihar or in any other state. When the all-party delegation met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a senior state minister from BJP quota Janak Ram was a part of it. Similarly, when the all-party delegation of Jharkhand went to Delhi to meet PM Modi on the same issue, our leader of opposition in Jharkhand Deepak Prakash also participated.

“Had we been against it, we would not have been a part of the delegation. These delegations put a demand before PM Modi that the Centre would conduct a caste-based census in the country. The Centre had said that it is not possible for it to conduct caste census in the country but tha state governments are independent to conduct the same in their respective states,” Modi had said.

“The caste-based census was passed twice in the Bihar Legislative Assembly and Bihar Legislative Council and BJP supported it all along,” Modi said.

“Even we were not against the socio-economic census passed in Parliament in 2010. On that occasion, Gopinath Munde and Hukumdev Prasad Yadav during their speech in the House had supported it. Even when caste-based census was held in Karnataka (Sarva Kukumb Surve in Karnataka) and Telangana (2015), BJP did not oppose it,” Modi said.

Hence, it is a baseless allegation that BJP is against the caste-based census, he said.

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