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Fri, 14 February 2020
2 more arrested for Gargi college molestation

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23:45   Peaceful protesters not traitors, says HC; allows anti-CAA protest
Persons holding peaceful protests against a particular law cannot be termed as traitors or anti-nationals, the Bombay high court said while granting permission to a few people to sit on an indefinite protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Beed district.

The Aurangabad bench of HC on Thursday noted that the petitioner and his companions only want to hold a peaceful agitation to show their protest.

A division bench of Justices T V Nalavade and M G Sewlikar was hearing a petition filed by one Iftekhar Shaikh challenging a January 31, 2020 order passed by a magistrate and a January 21, 2020 order of the police refusing them permission to sit on an indefinite protest at Old Idgah Maidanin Majalgaon in Beed district against the CAA.

"This court wants to express that such persons cannot be called as traitors, anti-nationals only because they want to oppose one law. It will be act of protest and only against the government for the reason of CAA," the court said in its order.

The bench noted the orders passed by the magistrate and police were only because the petitioner and his companions wanted to agitate against CAA.

It said, presently, such agitations were going on everywhere and there was no whisper of agitations of other nature in this region.

"We must keep in mind we are a democratic republic country and our Constitution has given us rule of law and not rule of majority. When such act (CAA) is made, some people maybe of a particular religion like Muslims may feel that it is against their interest and such act needs to be opposed," the bench said in its order.

It noted that it is the duty of the government to approach such persons, have talks with them and try to convince them.

"India got freedom due to agitations which were non-violent and this path of non-violence is followed by the people of this country till date. We are fortunate that most people of this country still believe in non-violence," the bench said.

"In the British period, our ancestors fought for freedom and also for human rights, and due to the philosophy behind the agitations, we created our Constitution. It can be said that it is unfortunate but the people are required to agitate against their own government now but only on thatground the agitation cannot be suppressed," it added.

The bench held that orders passed by the magistrate and the police were illegal and needed to be quashed and set aside.  -- PTI
23:16   2 more arrested for Gargi college molestation
Two more persons have been apprehended in connection with Delhi's Gargi College case.

Earlier in the day, a Delhi court granted bail to 10 people, who were arrested in connection with the alleged molestation of students during a cultural festival at Gargi College, on a surety of Rs 10,000 each.

The 10 accused were produced at Saket District Court where the magistrate sent them to Tihar Jail under judicial custody for 14 days.

The Delhi Police on Monday received a complaint from Gargi College against the alleged sexual harassment of female students by a number of unidentified men during their annual cultural fest on February 6.

A case was registered at Hauz Khas Police Station and several teams were constituted to investigate the matter.

The police have been looking into available evidence and visited various sites in NCR for the identification of suspects.

Police also said that as many as 23 CCTV footages have been examined and three of these were focused on the ground where the festival was on. -- ANI
22:41   SC completely lifts ban on construction activities in Delhi-NCR
The Supreme Court Friday completely lifted the ban on construction activities in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR).

The apex court had on November 4 last year banned all construction and demolition activities in Delhi-NCR.

About a month later, on December 9, lifted the ban partially and allowed construction activities between 6 AM and 6 PM, after the Central Pollution Control Board had said that air quality index (AQI) level was not severe at that time.

On Friday, the matter came up before a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta.

Senior advocate Aparajita Singh, assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the pollution matter, told the bench that ban should be completely lifted as it has served its purpose.

The bench, which was hearing an application filed by the India Trade Promotion Organisation, lifted the ban which paved way for construction activity during the night time in Delhi-NCR.

Besides this, the bench issued notice to the Delhi government seeking its response on a separate application which said that despite the ban imposed by the apex court, garbage burning was still going on in New Delhi.

Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, told the bench that Delhi government has given them plot for installation of smog towers at Connaught Place and Anand Vihar here and the work has also been allotted.

The bench asked the chief secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to file affidavits regarding compliance of the directions given by the court in its orders passed earlier regarding measures including on curbing  pollution, stubble and garbage burning.

The bench has posted the matter for hearing on February 28.

The top court had earlier asked all the states to explain as to why they should not be made liable to pay compensation to persons affected by bad air quality saying it is their bounden duty to provide basic civic amenities, clean air and drinking water to citizens.

It had also issued notices to all states seeking various details, including on air quality index (AQI), managing air quality and disposing of garbage.    

The bench on Friday asked all the states to file their compliance affidavits in this regard before the next date of hearing.  -- PTI
22:06   Sedition case for school play: 2 get bail
A court in Bidar in north Karnataka on Friday granted bail to a parent and the headmistress of a school, arrested in the 'sedition case' for their alleged involvement in staging a drama, portraying Prime Minister Narendra Modi in poor light in connection with Citizenship Amendment Act and Natioanl Register of Citizens Principal District and Sessions Court Judge granted conditional bail to Nazbunnisa (parent) and Fareeda Begum (headmistress) who were arrested on January 30.

The bail was granted upon executing a personal bond for Rs one lakh with two sureties for the like sum, official sources said.

The bail conditions include that the accused should appear before the Investigating Officer as and when called upon and extend cooperation in the probe, not try to tamper with evidence and appear before the court concerned on all dates of the hearing, unless prevented by any genuine cause.

The drama was staged by students of the fourth, fifth and sixth standards on January 21.

A sedition case was later booked by police against the school management, along with other sections of Indian Penal Code on January 26, based on a complaint from social worker Neelesh Rakshyal.

The play uploaded on social media had gone viral.

Officials had earlier said the utterances against Modi was not part of the original script, but the mother of the sixth standard student allegedly incorporated them during practice and the teacher allowed it to be part of the drama.

The complainant alleged that the school authorities 'used' the students to perform a drama where they 'abused' Modi in the context of the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens.

The management tried to create 'fear' among the Muslims that they would have to leave the country if the CAA and NRC are implemented, Rakshyal had said.

Police had earlier come in for for criticism from some quarters for questioning thechildren in connection with the case, in uniform. -- PTI
21:35   Prez appoints Kejriwal as next Delhi CM
President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday appointed Arvind Kejriwal as the new Chief Minister of Delhi after his Aam Aadmi Party bagged 62 of the 70 seats in the recent Delhi Assembly elections.

According to an official notification, the President has also appointed six MLAs as ministers of the Delhi government following the advice of the chief minister.

The six ministers who will take oath along with Kejriwal on February 16 are: Manish Sisodia, Satyender Jain, Gopal Rai, Kailash Gehlot, Imran Hussain and Rajendra Gautam.

'The President has been pleased to appoint Shri Arvind Kejriwal to be the Chief Minister, National Capital Territory of Delhi with effect from the date he is sworn in,' the notification said.

A separate notification said the President has also accepted the resignation of Kejriwal as chief minister of the NCT of Delhi along with his council of ministers with immediate effect.

He will, however, continue to act as the chief Minister till the new chief minister is sworn in, it said.

In the Delhi polls, the AAP recorded a massive victory winning 62 of the 70 seats while the BJP bagged the remaining eight seats.

The Congress drew a blank for the second consecutive time. Kejriwal will take oath on Sunday.  -- PTI
21:26   EU calls for swift withdrawal of Kashmir curbs
The European Union on Friday sought swift lifting of existing restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir but at the same time noted the 'positive steps' initiated by the Union government to restore normalcy in the region.

The comments by the European Union came a day after a group of 25 foreign envoys concluded a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to have a first-hand account of the situation over six months after the Centre announced withdrawing its special status.

"The visit confirmed that the government of India has taken positive steps to restore normalcy. Some restrictions remain, notably on internet access and mobile services, and some political leaders are still in detention," said Virginie Battu-Henriksson, EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

"While we recognise the serious security concerns, it is important that the remaining restrictions be lifted swiftly," the official said.

Battu-Henriksson said the visit presented a 'welcome opportunity' to see the situation on the ground and to interact with local interlocutors in Jammu and Kashmir.

"We look forward to continuing the dialogue with India on the situation in the region," the official added.

The visit was organised by the government to help the foreign envoys know about the situation in the Union Territory.

The EU official said the programme included meetings with civil and military authorities, some political representatives as well as selected representatives of civil society and the business community.

Last month, the government had taken 15 envoys to Jammu and Kashmir but the European countries had declined to be part of it.

After announcing reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir and withdrawal of its special powers, India imposed severe curbs including on movement of people as well as on mobile telephone and internet connectivity.

The crackdown drew international criticism with several countries expressing concerns over the situation in Kashmir.  -- PTI
20:37   AAP to fight local body polls across India: Rai
Buoyed by its massive victory in the Delhi assembly polls, the Aam Aadmi Party has decided to contest all elections to local bodies across the country as part of an ambitious plan to expand its footprint beyond the national capital.

In an interview to PTI, senior AAP leader Gopal Rai said the party has convened a meeting of its national executive on Sunday to deliberate on expanding the party by projecting its 'positive nationalism'.

Rai, a confidante of AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, said the party has set its sight on contesting assembly elections in a number of states including Punjab in the first phase.

"The agenda of Sunday's meeting is to expand our organisation at the national level by including volunteers in large numbers and building party cadre across the country," he said.

Rai, a minister in outgoing Kejriwal government, said people will be able to join AAP's 'nation building campaign' by giving a missed call on the phone number -- 9871010101.

"We will reach out to people through this campaign and make them volunteers in large numbers. The party will contest elections of all local bodies across the country. AAP will fight upcoming local bodies elections in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat," he said.

Rai called BJP's nationalism 'negative', asserting that AAP will expand its base by highlighting on 'positive nationalism'.

"In Delhi, we spread positive nationalism which is based on love and respect. The BJP's nationalism is based on hatred and divisive politics," he said.

"The experiment done by the AAP in Delhi has become a role model for the entire country. Our nationalism is positive nationalism which gives guarantee of good education, health care and livelihood to every section of the society including farmers," he said.

On being asked about Bharatiya Janata Party's attack on Kejriwal for reciting Hanuman Chalisa on a TV channel in the run up to the assembly elections, Rai said for the BJP, religion is a 'political weapon', but for the people of the country, religion is a belief.

"The BJP does not respect people of India and it sees every person as its vote bank," he said.

In the Delhi polls, the AAP recorded a massive victory winning 62 of the 70 seats while BJP bagged the remaining eight seats.

The Congress drew a blank for the second consecutive time.  -- Bunty Tyagi/PTI
20:14  
Inflation in the last six months.
20:13   23 Indian fishermen apprehended by Pak off Guj coast: Official
23 Indian fishermen were apprehended and four boats seized near the international maritime boundary line (IMBL) off Jakhau coast in Kutch district in Gujarat by Pakistan maritime agencies, said a fishermen's outfit functionary.

Porbandar Fishermen Boat Association president Jivan Jungi said, of the four boats, two had set sail from Porbandar a few days ago, while one each was registered in Okha and Veraval.

"We have learnt that 23 Indian fishermen on four boats have been apprehended mid-sea by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency near the international maritime boundary line (IMBL) in the Arabian sea off Jakhau coast of Kutch district on Friday. The fishermen will be taken to Karachi Port," said Jungi.

Indian fishermen are often captured by Pakistan agencies who accuse them of straying into the territorial waters of that country.  -- PTI
19:52   SC judge who fainted in courtroom is stable
Supreme Court judge Justice R Banumathi, who fainted in the courtroom on Friday while dictating order in the Nirbhaya case, is stable and undergoing treatment, sources said.

They said she was immediately rushed for the medical attention and is now stable.

Justice Banumathi had fainted in courtroom while dictating the order on the Centre' plea seeking separate hanging of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.

The lady judge had soon regained consciousness and was taken to the chamber by other judges of the bench and Supreme Court staff.

She was soon taken on a wheel chair for medical treatment at medical facility in the apex court.

Justice A S Bopanna, while rising, had said that the order in the matter will be passed in-chamber.

Justice Ashok Bhushan was also part of the three-judge bench hearing the matter.  -- PTI
18:49   Visitors from Japan, S Korea to also be screened
Aviation regulator Directorate General for Civil Aviation asked airports and airlines on Friday that in order to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus infection, passengers arriving in flights from Japan and South Korea must be screened once they step out of the aerobridge.

Till date, only passengers arriving from four countries -- Thailand, Singapore, China and Hong Kong -- were being screened for possible exposure to the respiratory virus at 21 identified airports in India.

In a circular, the DGCA stated, 'Universal screening of all the passengers coming in flights directly from Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore besides the flights from China and Hong Kong shall be ensured immediately once they step out of the specific identified aerobridge.'

'It is advised to place the suitable signages at strategic locations at all the airports and getting the self-declaration form filled by the passengers as per the instructions of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,' it added.  -- PTI
18:28   Tej Pratap Yadav's father-in-law quits RJD
Chandrika Rai, father-in-law of Lalu Prasad's son Tej Pratap Yadav, on Friday said he had resigned from Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and he doesn't know who runs the affairs in the party.

"I have taken the first step and left RJD. Let's see what happens. The way things are running in the party is beyond me. I don't even know who runs the affairs in the party," Rai told ANI.

However, he did not spell out his future plans.

Asked about his praise for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's work, he said, "I have always been an admirer of Nitish Kumar's work. When I was in RJD I was in opposition. Now that I have left RJD I can come out in open and praise it."

Asked if he would be joining Janata Dal-United, Rai said even if he had such a conversation, he will not share it.Rai, who is MLA from Parsa, said he was planning to meet assembly Speaker to ask for a separate place for himself.

In September last year, Chandrika's daughter Aishwarya, who is married to Lalu's elder son was seen coming out of the house of her in-laws' with tears in her eyes.

Image: Tej Pratap Yadav
18:20   DoT asks telcos to clear dues by midnight
After Supreme Court rap, the Department of Telecommunications has ordered firms such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea to clear dues before Friday midnight.

The DoT, which faced the ire of the Supreme Court for putting on hold recovery of dues from telecom companies, started issuing circle or zone-wise demand notices to firms, an order seen by PTI said.

The order asked telcos to clear dues by 11.59 pm Friday.  -- PTI
17:56   Coronavirus hits 3rd Indian on baord Japan ship
A third Indian crew on board a cruise ship off the Japanese coast has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Indian Embassy in Japan said on Friday as authorities confirmed that 218 people have been infected with the deadly virus on the quarantined ship.

The cruise ship Diamond Princess with 3,711 people on board arrived at the Japanese coast early last week and was quarantined after a passenger who de-boarded last month in Hong Kong was found to be the carrier of the COVID-19 on the ship.

A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and 6 passengers, were on board the ship.

The Indian Embassy in a statement said three Indian crew members are among 218 people tested positive for the virus.

"All 218 people, including Indian nationals have been taken to hospitals for further treatment and quarantine. As per information available with the Embassy, no other Indian national on-board Diamond Princess Cruise ship has developed any symptoms of infection," the statement said.  -- PTI
17:14   Kejriwal was called terrorist with HM's OK: AAP
Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh on Friday said that he does not believe that the controversial remarks made by BJP leaders during the Delhi Assembly election did not have the approval of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.


"He uses such aggressive language. I don't believe that without his knowledge Arvind Kejriwal was called terrorist and Ravan," Singh told ANI.


Shah on Thursday, while accepting the BJP's defeat in Delhi polls, had said that the party had distanced itself from some controversial remarks made by its leaders during Delhi elections.


Shah had also said the party might have been impacted due to these controversial remarks as voters do not give reasons while making their choice in elections.


Three BJP leaders including party MP from West Delhi Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma were barred by the Election Commission for campaigning for different periods over their remarks during electioneering in the national capital.


"Can they guarantee that they won't use such language in the future? In other state elections, they will continue to use such a language? They are accustomed to such politics," said Singh.


Aam Aadmi Party registered a landslide victory in the polls for the second time in a row by bagging 62 of 70 assembly seats. The BJP marginally improved its previous tally to eight from three. -- ANI
16:54   NCW panel to speak to students on menstrual check
The National Commission for Women has set up an inquiry committee which will meet the students of a college in Gujarat who were reportedly forced to strip to prove that they were not menstruating. 


According to media reports, 68 undergraduate staying in the hostel were paraded through the college into the restroom and forced to individually remove their undergarments to prove that they were not menstruating. 


The Commission has also sought an explanation from the trustee of Sahjanand Girls' Institute College, Pravin Pindora and the principal Rita Raniga for this "shameful exercise", an NCW statement said. The NCW has set up an inquiry team, which will meet the girls of the institute and inquire about the incident. 


"NCW has also appraised the Kutch University in-charge Vice Chancellor Darshna Dholakia and the DGP of Gujurat, Shivanand Jha (IPS) to look into the matter thoroughly and report to the Commission at the earliest on their action taken report," the statement added. -- PTI


Image: Darshana Dholakia, Dean, Shree Sahajanand Girls Institute, Bhuj, says the matter has nothing to do with the college. "Everything happened with the girls' permission; nobody was forced into it. Nobody touched them."
16:30   Girls forced to remove innerwear in college to prove they weren't menstruating
At least 68 girl students of Shree Sahajanand Girls Institute (SSGI) in Gujarat's Bhuj were allegedly forced to remove their innerwear to prove that they were not menstruating.


The students are now demanding action legal action against the authorities of the education institution for making such a move.


"We do respect our institution, but what they did was not right. A legal action should be taken against them. We decided to call the media to throw light on the matter," one of the complainants told ANI.


The girl alleged that the principal of the institute blackmailed and forced them to withdraw the complaint.


"The principal and a few others have called us and tried emotionally blackmailed us. He also told us to give in writing that everything is fine now. We want legal action and not just the apology from the administration," she said.


Responding to the claims, Darshana Dholakia, SSGI Dean, said that an inquiry team has been formed to look into the matter."


The matter is related to the hostel and it has nothing to do with the university or college. Everything happened with the girls' permission and nobody was forced. No one touched them. An inquiry team has been constituted to look into the matter," she said. -- ANI
16:25   Open to feedback from experts on Budget: FM
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday that she is willing to accommodate feedback given by economists and industry experts while making changes in the Union Budget proposals for 2020-21.


"As and when any tweaks have to be made after the Budget, or as and when more has to happen, we are willing and open to hearing more from all of you," she said at an interactive session titled 'Budget & Beyond' organised by NITI Aayog.


Sitharaman said the immediate feedback on Budget has been motivating with a positive impact on currency, bond and equity markets.


"It is one Budget where the impact on equity, currency and bond market has been positive. Currency market remains stable, the bond market has cooled off and equity markets is positive," she said.


"If more has to be done beyond the Budget, we are willing to do that."Sitharaman heard the views on Budget proposal on dividend taxation, and how it will impact real estate investment trusts (REITs) and infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs). Budget 2020 proposes to tax dividends from REITs and InvITs at the hands of the units holders.


Professionals from asset management, wealth advisory, tax consultancy and other related fields shared their outlook in the interactive discussion.


The Finance Minister had similar interactive sessions in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata last week. She will be on a two-day official tour to Hyderabad and Bengaluru on February 16 and 17 respectively.  -- PTI
16:18   Villager killed, 4 injured as Pak troops shell village along LoC in J-K
A villager was killed and four others were injured on Friday when Pakistani troops engaged in heavy mortar shelling and firing on civilian areas and forward posts along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district, officials said. 


Pakistan Army troopers launched mortar shells and fired from small arms on villages and forward posts in Shahpur and Kerni areas of the district in violation of a ceasefire agreement, they said. 


Pakistan troops used 120-mm mortars to target the villages, they said. In the firing and shelling, one civilian was killed and four other villagers were injured, they said. The injured have been taken to a hospital, they said. Indian troops guarding the border retaliated befittingly resulting in an exchange of fire, which continued till reports last came in, they said. PTI
15:03   BJP calls Rahul LeT, Jaish sympathiser
The Pulwama terror attack was at the centre of a bitter war of words between the opposition and the BJP on Friday with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi asking who benefitted from the strike and the ruling party accusing him of being a "known sympathiser" of terror groups LeT and JeM. 


While the Congress as well as the CPI-M raised questions on accountability, the BJP hit back to say Gandhi was insulting the memory of the 40 CRPF personnel killed in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14 last year. 


In a blistering attack on the government, Gandhi paid homage to the CRPF martyrs and also asked what was the outcome of the inquiry into the attack. 


"Today as we remember our 40 CRPF martyrs in the #PulwamaAttack , let us ask: 1. Who benefitted the most from the attack? 2. What is the outcome of the inquiry into the attack? 3. Who in the BJP Govt has yet been held accountable for the security lapses that allowed the attack?" he asked on Twitter. 


The ruling party's stinging response came almost immediately after Gandhi's controversial tweet. "Shame on you," said BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao. "When nation is paying homage to martyrs of dastardly Pulwama attack, @RahulGandhi, a known sympathizer of LeT & Jaish-e-Mohammad, chooses to target not just the government but security forces as well. Rahul will never question real culprit, Pakistan...," Rao said on Twitter. 


"This is an insult to martyrs who sacrificed their life for the country. Congress has done this in past as well and people taught them a lesson for this blunder. Such remarks by Rahul Gandhi help Pakistan counter India on international platforms," added his party colleague Shahnawaz Hussain.
14:48   SC judge faints in courtroom
Supreme Court judge Justice R Banumathi fainted in the courtroom on Friday while dictating the order on the Centre' plea seeking separate hanging of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case. Justice Banumathi soon regained consciousness and was taken to chamber by other judges on the dias and the Supreme Court staff. She has been taken on a wheelchair for medical treatment. Justice AS Bopanna, while rising, said that the order in the matter will be passed in-chamber. PTI
14:44   Prez applied mind: SC rejects Nirbhaya plea
The Supreme Court Friday dismissed Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case convict Vinay Sharma's plea challenging the rejection of his mercy petition by the President alleging that it was done in a "mala fide" manner. 


A bench of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna said there was no ground for judicial review of rejection of mercy petition being made out by Sharma, one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 case.


All material including Sharma's medical report was placed before the President who applied his mind in the rejection of the mercy plea, the apex court said. 


The top court rejected the contention of Sharma that he is mentally ill and said his medical report suggests he is stable. The trial court had on January 31 stayed "till further orders" execution of the four convicts in the case -- Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar (31), who are lodged in Tihar Jail. -- PTI


14:15   Javed Akhtar congratulates Kejriwal on election win
Veteran writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar met AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal at his residence on Friday and congratulated him for his win in the Delhi Assembly polls. 


"It was a pleasure receiving Javed Akhtar sahab today at my residence," Kejriwal said in a tweet. Party functionaries said Akhtar met Kejriwal to congratulate him for his victory in the Delhi assembly polls. 


Earlier, Akhtar also met AAP leader Sanjay Singh at his residence. The AAP won 62 seats in the 70-member Delhi Assembly, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bagged the remaining eight seats. The Congress drew a blank for the second consecutive time. -- PTI 
14:08   Senior Bombay HC judge S C Dharmadhikari resigns
Second senior most judge of the Bombay High Court, Justice Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari, has tendered his resignation. Justice Dharmadhikari told a lawyer in his court on Friday that he has tendered his resignation. However, he did did not specify the reason.


He made the announcement when the lawyer, Mathew Nedumpara, mentioned a petition seeking for the court to hear it next week. "I have demitted the office. Today is my last day," Justice Dharmadhikari told in the court.  


Nedumpara later said, "When the judge said he has resigned, I initially thought he said it in a lighter vein. He is a very senior judge and his resignation comes as a shock," Justice Dharmadhikari, who was made judge of the Bombay High Court on November 14, 2003, was in line to be elevated as Chief Justice. -- PTI
14:03   SC notice to J&K on sis plea on Omar's detention
The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday on a plea filed by Sara Abdullah Pilot challenging the detention of her brother and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah under the Public Safety Act. 


A bench, comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee, said it would hear on March 2 Pilot's plea challenging Abdullah's detention. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal appeared for Pilot in the apex court. 


Pilot had on Monday approached the top court challenging her brother's detention under the Public Safety Act, saying the detention order was "manifestly illegal" and there was no question of him being a "threat to the maintenance of public order". -- PTI
14:00   WPI inflation rises to 3.1 pc in January
Wholesale prices based inflation rose to 3.1 per cent in January, as against 2.59 per cent in the previous month due to increase in prices of food articles like onion and potato. 


The annual inflation, based on monthly wholesale price index, was at 2.76 per cent during the same month a year ago (January 2019). The rate of price rise for food articles rose to 11.51 per cent during January as against 2.41 per cent a month earlier, while for non-food articles it rose nearly three-fold to 7.8 per cent from 2.32 per cent in November, the data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on Friday showed. 


Among food articles, vegetable prices surged by 52.72 per cent mainly on account of onion, which witnessed 293 per cent jump in prices, followed by potato at 37.34 per cent. -- PTI
13:48   Kejriwal invites PM Modi for swearing-in
AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to his swearing-in ceremony on Sunday. AAP sources said an invite was sent to the prime minister on Thursday. Kejriwal will take oath as Delhi Chief minister along with his cabinet at Ramlila Maidan at 10 am on Sunday. 


The Aam Aadmi Party will not invite Chief Ministers or political leaders from other states for the oath-taking ceremony of Kejriwal along with his Cabinet.

However, AAP will send invitations to political parties in Delhi and the PM and the President as it is the official process.


Image: Baby Kejriwal and his family have also been sent an invite to the swearing-in ceremony on Sunday. 
13:43   FM, NITI Aayog CEO participate in 'Budget and Beyond' session
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday attended an interactive session titled 'Budget and Beyond' with professionals from asset management, wealth advisory, tax consultancy and other related industries here at NITI Aayog.


Secretaries of the Finance Ministry also attended the session. Thanking the ministries which spent hours getting the details required for the budget 2020-21, Sitharaman said: "It is one budget where the impact on bond market currency and equity markets has been positive."


NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said, "In order to take India to a high trajectory growth rate, we will discuss on forward-looking measures regarding the Budget and Beyond."


Later, professionals and industrialists shared their suggestions with the Finance Minister on 'Budget and Beyond'.


Sitharaman will be on a two-day official visit to Hyderabad and Bengaluru on February 16 and 17 to hold interactive sessions with various stakeholders on Union Budget 2020-21.


In the first session, in each city, Sitharaman will interact with representatives of trade, industry, investment bankers and farmers organisations, among others.


In the second session, she will meet economists, tax practitioners, academia and policymakers.The Finance Minister had held similar interactive sessions in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata last week.


On February 1, Sitharaman had presented her second Union Budget on behalf of the NDA-2 government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.In the longest Union Budget speech in history, Sitharaman talked about tax regime, finance, agriculture, irrigation, water, sanitation, healthcare, education, infrastructure, women and digital connectivity, among others. 
-- ANI
13:30   What Mehbooba said on Pulwama attack anniversary
PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said that National Investigation Agency failed to nab the culprits of Pulwama terror attack even after a year.


She also accused the investigation agency of sheltering suspended Jammu and Kashmir DSP Davinder Singh who was arrested on charges of trying to assist terrorists to travel outside the Union Territory.


"No surprises that a year post-Pulwama attack, NIA failed to nab culprits. The same agency is now sheltering it's pawn Davinder Singh who was caught with militants," Mufti tweeted.


On February 6, Mufti and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah were booked under the Public Safety Act.


Both former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers were detained after the government abrogated Article 370 last year. In December of that year, NC leader Farooq Abdullah's detention was extended for three more months under the PSA.


On February 14 last year, around 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives when a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into a CRPF convoy on Srinagar-Jammu national highway.
13:25   Goa govt's plan to impose tax on feni opposed
The Goa government's proposal to impose tax on feni, which has earned the state 'heritage drink' tag, and also to increase excise tax on liquor has been opposed by the industry players as well as political leaders. 


Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, in the state budget presented in the Assembly on February 6, has proposed a hike in the excise tax on liquor and imposition of tax on the MRP of feni. Goa Forward Party chief and Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai questioned the decision to impose tax on feni. "Whose idea was it to tax the heritage drink, which has GI? Did it come as a suggestion from the pre budget online suggestions that the Govt sought? Or was it an original idea by the head of the Govt? #Goa needs to know!" he tweeted. 


State Ports Minister Michael Lobo said he would talk to the chief minister and request him to consider reducing tax on wine and feni. -- PTI
13:20   MVA govt not repressive: Sule
Criticising the previous Devendra Fadnavis-led government, NCP leader Supriya Sule has said that the present Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi dispensation of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress is not repressive. She was talking to reporters here on Thursday night. 


"The MVA government is not repressive. Unlike the Fadnavis government, it does not suppress people's voice," Sule said. When asked about Fadnavis' demand for a ban on Congress' magazine 'Shidori' for publishing critical articles on Hindutva ideologue and freedom fighter Veer Savarkar, she said the former chief minister has all the right to express his views.


"This only shows that under the present government people can express themselves freely and their views are not repressed," the NCP MP said. The BJP has demanded a ban on the magazine for publishing "malicious" content and also sought an apology from the party.


Fadnavis had on Thursday come down heavily on the Shiv Sena for ignoring Congress' attacks on Savarkar. 


The Uddhav Thackeray-led party, a former ally of the BJP, should answer how much insult it can tolerate by its ruling alliance partner, Fadnavis had said. -- PTI 
12:47   HC agrees to hear on Feb 17 plea for CBI probe into Gargi students' 'molestation'
The Delhi High Court will on Monday hear a plea seeking a court-monitored CBI probe into the alleged molestation of students during a cultural festival at Delhi University's all-women Gargi College last week. 


The plea was mentioned on Friday for urgent hearing before a bench of Justices G S Sistani and C Hari Shankar which said it will be listed for February 17. Advocate and petitioner M L Sharma said nothing had been done till now.


Police registered the FIR on February 9 and arrested 10 people just two days ago, he said. When the bench asked what was the urgency, the counsel there was apprehension the evidence could be destroyed. 


The plea was filed on Thursday, hours after the Supreme Court declined to entertain the petition and asked the petitioner to move the high court. Sharma has sought the preservation of all video recordings and CCTV camera footage of the college campus in his plea. 


The plea has also sought the arrest of people behind the "planned criminal conspiracy". Ten people, between the ages of 18 and 25 years, were arrested by police on February 12 in connection with the incident. 


On February 6, a group of men broke into the Gargi College during the festival 'Reverie' and allegedly groped, harassed and molested the students who claimed that security officials stood watching. - PTI
12:35   Vodafone Idea stock plunges by 12% after new SC order
The share price of telecom major Vodafone Idea fell by over 12 per cent intraday on Friday after the Supreme Court rejected the telcos' plea seeking new schedule of adjusted gross revenues payments.Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices had filed modification applications on the time schedule to make payments of over Rs 1 lakh crore which they owe to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) as AGRs.


The apex court asked telecom operators to explain why these dues were not deposited despite its orders, and why contempt action must not be taken against them for non-compliance of the order.


A day earlier, Vodafone Idea had reported a consolidated loss of Rs 6,439 crore for the October to December quarter (Q3 FY20).At 12 noon on Friday, its stock was trading 12.5 per cent lower at Rs 3.92 against the previous close of Rs 4.48. -- PTI
12:26   NSA slapped on Kafeel Khan for anti-CAA protest
Paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, who was arrested for allegedly delivering an inflammatory speech during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, has been charged under the stringent National Security Act or NSA.


Ashutosh Dwivedi, Superintendent of Police (Crime), said that Aligarh district magistrate has imposed NSA against Khan. Dr Khan was arrested last month from the Mumbai airport for his speech at Aligarh Muslim University in December last year on CAA. 


A case had been registered against him for promoting enmity between different religions for that speech. "We got to know on Friday morning that NSA has been slapped on Kafeel and now he will not be coming out of jail soon. This is simply unacceptable. He is being targeted at the behest of the state government," said his brother Adeel Khan.


Dr Khan was granted bail on Monday after furnishing a bail bond of Rs 60,000, but he has not been released from Mathura jail where he is presently lodged.


Khan's family had approached the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Aligarh over the delay in his release despite getting bail.After his arrest in Mumbai, Khan was brought to Aligarh, from where he was immediately shifted to the district jail in neighbouring Mathura.


Dr Khan hit the headlines after the death of 60 children in a Gorakhpur hospital in September 2017 allegedly due to disruption in oxygen supply over unpaid bills to the vendor. He was suspended and spent more than seven months in jail before being released in April 2018. -- PTI
12:26   NSA slapped on Kafeel Khan for anti-CAA protest
Paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, who was arrested for allegedly delivering an inflammatory speech during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, has been charged under the stringent National Security Act or NSA.


Ashutosh Dwivedi, Superintendent of Police (Crime), said that Aligarh district magistrate has imposed NSA against Khan. Dr Khan was arrested last month from the Mumbai airport for his speech at Aligarh Muslim University in December last year on CAA. 


A case had been registered against him for promoting enmity between different religions for that speech. "We got to know on Friday morning that NSA has been slapped on Kafeel and now he will not be coming out of jail soon. This is simply unacceptable. He is being targeted at the behest of the state government," said his brother Adeel Khan.


Dr Khan was granted bail on Monday after furnishing a bail bond of Rs 60,000, but he has not been released from Mathura jail where he is presently lodged.


Khan's family had approached the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Aligarh over the delay in his release despite getting bail.After his arrest in Mumbai, Khan was brought to Aligarh, from where he was immediately shifted to the district jail in neighbouring Mathura.


Dr Khan hit the headlines after the death of 60 children in a Gorakhpur hospital in September 2017 allegedly due to disruption in oxygen supply over unpaid bills to the vendor. He was suspended and spent more than seven months in jail before being released in April 2018. -- PTI
12:14   SC takes strong note of non-compliance of its order asking telcos to pay Rs 1.47 lakh cr
The Supreme Court on Friday directed the managing directors and directors of telcos and other firms to explain why contempt action should not be taken against them for non-compliance of its order to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of Rs 1.47 lakh crore to the Department of Telecommunications. 


Taking strong note of the non-compliance of its order, a bench of Justice Arun Mishra, Justice S Abdul Nazeer and Justice M R Shah expressed anguish over the order passed by DoT's desk officer staying the effect of its verdict in AGR matter.


"We don't know who is creating this nonsense. Is there no law left in country... It is better not to live in this country and rather leave the country," the bench observed. 


The top court said a desk officer is writing a letter to the Attorney General and other constitutional authorities saying they should not insist on payment of money by telcos and others and to ensure that no coercive action is taken against them. -- PTI
11:35   Joy of our lives: Sushma's husband on birthday
Former Governor of Mizoram Swaraj Kaushal on Friday shared a touching photograph of his late wife and former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on her birth anniversary. 


The picture has the beloved EAM, flashing a radiant smile and holding a knife in her hand, watches the firecracker light on her birthday cake. "Happy birthday! @SushmaSwaraj - the joy of our lives," read the words accompanying the picture posted on Twitter by Kaushal.


Swaraj, who served as the External Affairs Minister in the previous BJP-led NDA government, passed away in August last year.


On the eve of her birth anniversary, the Central government on Thursday renamed the Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra and Foreign Service Institute in the national capital after Swaraj for her "invaluable contribution" to Indian diplomacy, the cause of the Indian diaspora and the ethos of public service. -- ANI
10:58   AT CRPF memorial, soil from homes of 40 martyrs
On the 1st anniversary of the deadly terror strike against a convoy of CRPF jawans in Pulwama, J-K, a thoughtful gesture by Umesh Gopinath Jadhav from Maharashtra.


Jadhav, who is the special guest at the wreath-laying ceremony at the CRPF campus in Kashmir's Lethpora said he took a 61000 km long journey across India to meet families of the 40 jawans who lost their lives in the attack. 


"I'm proud that I met all the families of the Pulwama martyrs, and sought their blessings. Parents lost their son, wives lost their husbands, children lost their fathers, friends lost their friends. 

"I collected soil from their houses and their cremation grounds." 


The soil collected was placed at the memorial at CRPF's Lethpora camp.

On February 14 last year, a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber at Lethpora in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir. Forty Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed in the attack.
10:51   'It's time for my mother and every detainee to come home'
"It is an uncomfortable situation for a woman. She has been on her own, separated from family. That is the point of isolating her -- breaking her to a point where she bends to their will." says Iltija Mufti of her mother Mehbooba's detention for the last six months. In conversation with Archana Masih/Rediff.com. 
10:32   Pulwama: PM pays tribute to slain CRPF personnel
India will never forget the martyrdom of the security personnel killed in last year's Pulwama attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday. He termed the slain security personnel were "exceptional individuals" who devoted their lives to serving and protecting the nation.


On February 14 last year, a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber at Lethpora in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir. Forty Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed in the attack. 


"Tributes to the brave martyrs who lost their lives in the gruesome Pulwama attack last year. They were exceptional individuals who devoted their lives to serving and protecting our nation. India will never forget their martyrdom," Modi tweeted. -- PTI


Image: Tributes being paid to the 40 CRPF jawans who lost their lives in the Pulwama attack last year, at the memorial at CRPF's Lethpora camp, in Srinagar.
10:21   Rahul: Who benefitted most from Pulwama attack?
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday remembered the 40 CRPF personnel killed in the Pulwama attack last year and asked who benefitted the most from the attack and what is the outcome of the inquiry into it. Gandhi asked who in the BJP government had been held accountable for the security lapses that allowed the attack. 


"Today as we remember our 40 CRPF martyrs in the #PulwamaAttack, let us ask: 1. Who benefitted the most from the attack? 2. What is the outcome of the inquiry into the attack? 3. Who in the BJP Govt has yet been held accountable for the security lapses that allowed the attack?" he asked on Twitter. 


On February 14 last year, Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber Adeel Ahmed Dar drove an explosive-laden car into a convoy of security forces, killing 40 personnel. -- PTI


Image: The picture of the coffins of the 40 slain CRPF personnel that Rahul Gandhi posted along with the tweet. 
10:18   India won't forget sacrifice of Pulwama bravehearts: Rajnath
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday paid his tribute to CRPF personnel, who lost their lives in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama on February 14 last year, when their convoy was targeted by a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit.


"Remembering the fallen CRPF personnel who were martyred during the dastardly attack in Pulwama (Jammu and Kashmir) on this day in 2019. India will never forget their sacrifice," Singh tweeted.


He said that the entire country stands united against terrorism and "everyone is committed to continue fight against this menace".


At least 40 CRPF jawans were killed after the convoy of 78 buses, in which around 2,500 personnel were travelling from Jammu to Srinagar, came under attack.


Following the dastardly attack, India had launched extensive diplomatic efforts to get JeM chief Masood Azhar designated as a global terrorist, which finally became a reality on May 1 last year when China lifted its technical hold on a proposal introduced by the US, the UK, and France in the 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council.


Around 12 days after the terror attack, in the wee hours of February 26, Indian Air Force (IAF) jets bombed the JeM camp in Balakot, in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.A day later on February 27, IAF foiled an attempt by Pakistan Air Force to strike at military installations in Jammu and Kashmir. -- PTI
09:53   Delegation of foreign envoys to meet Doval today
A delegation of 25 foreign envoys, which undertook a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, will meet National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Friday, sources said.


The foreign envoys, including those from Germany, France and Mexico, were on a visit to the newly-formed Union Territory to witness the ground situation in the region six months after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.


The group comprises representatives from Afghanistan, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, the European Union, France, Germany, Republic of Guinea, Hungary, Italy, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Namibia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Rwanda, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Uganda and Uzbekistan.During the visit, they held meetings with Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir Justice Gita Mittal and Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu. -- ANI
09:46   Sensex rises over 200 points
Market benchmark Sensex jumped over 200 points in opening session on Friday driven by gains in HDFC twins, ICICI Bank and Infosys amid strong foreign fund inflow. The 30-share BSE index was trading 233.20 points or 0.56 per cent higher at 41,692.99, and the broader NSE advanced 59.85 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 12,234.50.


All Sensex components were trading on a positive note with Asian Paints rising up to 1.33 per cent, followed by HDFC, HCL Tech, UltraTech Cement, Bharti Airtel and L&T. In the previous session, Sensex settled 106.11 points or 0.26 per cent, lower at 41,459.79, and Nifty dropped 26.55 points or 0.22 per cent to close at 12,174.65.  -- PTI


Image: Sensex jumped over 200 points in the opening session today driven by gains in HDFC twins, ICICI Bank and Infosys
09:27   Please take your money: Mallya to banks
Liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya once again asked the Indian banks to take back 100 per cent of the principal amount owed to them at the end of his three-day British High Court appeal on Thursday against an extradition order to India.

The 64-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss, wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to an alleged Rs 9,000 crores in unpaid bank loans, said the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are fighting over the same assets and not treating him reasonably in the process.

I request the banks with folded hands, take 100 per cent of your principal back, immediately, he said outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

The Enforcement Directorate attached the assets on the complaint by the banks that I was not paying them. I have not committed any offences under the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) that the Enforcement Directorate should suo moto attach my assets, he said.

I am saying, please banks take your money. The ED is saying no, we have a claim over these assets. So, the ED on the one side and the banks on the other are fighting over the same assets, he added.

Asked about heading back to India, he noted: I should be where my family is, where my interests are.

If the CBI and the ED are going to be reasonable, its a different story. What all they are doing to me for the last four years is totally unreasonable.

Mallya remains on bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April 2017 involving a bond worth 650,000 pounds and other restrictions on his travel while he contests that ruling.
09:18   Swaraj epitomised unwavering commitment to public service: Modi
Sushma Swaraj epitomised dignity and had an unwavering commitment to public service, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday, as he paid tributes to the late BJP leader on her 68th birth anniversary.
 
Swaraj died on August 6 last year following a cardiac arrest.
"Remembering Sushma Ji. She epitomised dignity, decency and unwavering commitment to public service," the prime minister tweeted.
Modi said the former external affairs minister was firmly rooted in Indian values and ethos, and had great dreams for the country.
"She was an exceptional colleague and an outstanding minister," he added.
On the eve of her birth anniversary, the government had renamed the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra, a cultural centre in Delhi reflecting India's connect with its diaspora, as Sushma Swaraj Bhavan.
The Foreign Service Institute, a renowned institution in Delhi where diplomats are trained, has also been renamed the Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service.

-- PTI
08:42   Shah, Rajnath pay homage to Pulwama martyrs
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday paid tribute to CRPF personnel, who lost their lives in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama on February 14 last year, when their convoy was targeted by a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit.

"Remembering the fallen CRPF personnel who were martyred during the dastardly attack in Pulwama (Jammu and Kashmir) on this day in 2019. India will never forget their sacrifice," Singh tweeted. 

He said that the entire country stands united against terrorism and "everyone is committed to continue fight against this menace".

Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted, "I pay homage to the martyrs of Pulwama attack. India will forever be grateful of our bravehearts and their families who made supreme sacrifice for the sovereignty and integrity of our motherland."

At least 40 CRPF jawans were killed after the convoy of 78 buses, in which around 2,500 personnel were travelling from Jammu to Srinagar, came under attack.

-- ANI
08:27   SC to pronounce order on Nirbhaya convict's petition against mercy plea rejection
The Supreme Court today will pronounce order on the issue of rejection of the Nirbhaya gang-rape case convict Vinay Kumar Sharma's mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind.

On Thursday, the top court had reserved the order on his mercy petition for 2 pm on Friday.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the Delhi government, had said that convict Sharma was not kept in solitary confinement as it was argued by convict's lawyer AP Singh in the Supreme Court.

"He (convict Vinay Sharma) was not kept in solitary confinement, as argued by advocate AP Singh. There is a limited scope of judicial review, as the President of India had rejected the mercy petition after SC reserved order duly considering and applying his mind," Mehta had said.

"The Home Minister did not do it (dispose off the matter) immediately, as the Joint Secretary and Home Secretary discussed the matter in a detailed manner. The crime committed by the convict, Vinay Kumar Sharma, fell in the rarest of the rare category and did not fall in the category of mercy," he had added.

Lawyer, AP Singh, representing Vinay, had earlier argued that the convict was kept in illegal confinement and "illegally tortured" in Tihar Jail.

He claimed that there has been a history of physical assaults on Vinay.

-- ANI
08:03   Amit Shah pays homage to Pulwama martyrs
On February 14 last year, the Pulwama district in Kashmir had witnessed one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the last decade, claiming the lives of 40 CRPF soldiers.

To mark that tragedy, Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted, paying homage to the 40 fallen soldiers. He wrote, "I pay homage to the martyrs of Pulwama attack. India will forever be grateful of our bravehearts and their families who made supreme sacrifice for the sovereignty and integrity of our motherland."

The Central Reserve Police Force will pay homage to those 40 martyrs today by organising a low-key wreath-laying ceremony at Lethpora Camp to mark their first death anniversary.

Moreover, in a bid to honour those martyrs a memorial will be built in Jammu and Kashmirs Pulwama district whose construction will begin today. Soil has been  collected from the homes of the CRPF martyrs which will be used in the construction of the memorial.
00:19   At JNU, Chidambaram pitches for mass movement
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday said there must be a "huge mass movement" if any Muslim was sent to detention camps in case the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
Speaking at the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus in New Delhi, the former Union minister said the CAA was an outcome of the "NRC fiasco" in Assam that left 19 lakh people out of the document.
The CAA was brought to accommodate the 12 lakh Hindus among the 19 lakh people who could not be included in the National Register of Citizens in Assam, he claimed.
Replying to a question by a student on the best course of action if the CAA was upheld by the apex court, Chidambaram said, "When they touch the excluded...they will only be Muslims, try to identify and throw them out, declare them stateless, there must be a huge mass movement, resisting any Muslim being thrown out or kept in detention camps."
He also said the Congress believed that the CAA must be repealed and there should be a political struggle so that the National Population Register (NPR) was pushed beyond 2024.
Claiming that the NRC, CAA and NPR were "closely connected" to each other, Chidambaram said, "The CAA was brought due to the NRC fiasco in Assam and the opposition to the CAA gave way to the NPR."
He asserted that the Congress was protesting against the CAA and the NRC across the country, but had consciously avoided going to Shaheen Bagh, as in that case, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would brand the demonstration against the amended citizenship law as a "political" one.
"See, we are not going to Shaheen Bagh because that would be falling into the BJP's trap. If we go there, they (BJP) will say it is political," the senior Congress leader said.
Slamming the CAA and the NRC as instruments undermining the very basis of the formation of India, he said the country, instead, needed a "broad law" on refugees.
Speaking at an event against the NRC, CAA and NPR hosted by the Congress's student wing, National Students' Union of India, at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Chidambaram accused the BJP of spreading lies against opposition parties.
"The BJP says the Congress, the Left and other liberal parties are against citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Sikhs from Pakistan, Bangladesh. But we are not against those included, our opposition is against exclusion," he said.
Questioning the rationale behind the CAA, the former finance minister said it excluded people on the basis of religion.
"Why only three countries, what about other neighbouring countries -- Nepal, Bhutan, China? What about others treated much worse? The Ahmadiyas and Shias of Pakistan, the Rohingyas of Myanmar, Tamil Hindus are equally persecuted, why are they left out?," he questioned.
Chidambaram also said the CAA did not cover persecution based on language, political ideology and economic deprivation.
Slamming the NRC, he wondered which country would accept those left out of the document.
"Which country is going to accept them? How will they go? Where will you send them? (Home Minister) Amit Shah saying that they are termites and he will throw them out by 2024 is talking through his hat," the senior Congress leader said.  -- PTI

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