Case withdrawals by UP government: Hall of Infamy

Above: Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati/Photo: UNI The UP government’s attempt to withdraw criminal cases against its politicians has revealed the moral vacuum and lawlessness prevalent in the state  ~By Govind Pant Raju in Lucknow While the public perception of the tenure of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is still unclear, the state government has stood by its promises of “Ram Rajya” for the party associates. So much so that it is covering up serious criminal cases registered against these people. The state government announced that it would withdraw all cases registered owing to political rivalry. This resulted in the withdrawal of about 20,000 registered cases, including some against Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and Adityanath himself. However, under the disguise of political matters, even criminal cases are being put down. One of them is that of Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati. In 2011, Chinmayananda was accused of rape by one of his students who spent many years in his ashram. She alleged that she was kept in an ashram in Haridwar and raped by him. Later, charges of rape and abduction were filed against him at Shahjahanpur police station in November 2011. Incidentally, Chinmayananda has been a three-time BJP MP, having won from Badaun, Machchlishahr and Jaunpur.…
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Yashwant Sinha quits BJP

Former Finance Minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who has had a running battle with his party over several issues – his battle with current Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is well known – has finally quit the party. He made this announcement in Patna and said that he was taking “sanyas” from politics as well. The 80-year-old Sinha, whose son Jayant is the current junior minister in the finance department of the Union government, said: “Today I am ending all ties with the BJP”. Though he has said that he would not be having any truck with any political party, he also said that democracy in India was under threat. He was speaking at an opposition rally in the state capital. —India Legal Bureau…
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AMBEDKAR’S DIRE WARNING

By Inderjit Badhwar BhimRao Ambedkar is once again the political flavour of the season. As Dalit agitations flare up across the nation, highlighting the dilution and sidestepping of laws aimed at preventing and punishing atrocities against Scheduled Castes, parties competing for the 2019 general election smell the galvanising and shifting of a vote bank. So leaders, including those from the ruling BJP, have turned into Ambedkar flag-wavers in the hope of attracting the faithful to their side. While Dalits understand Ambedkar viscerally, because as an “untouchable” who faced horrendous caste oppression, and then rose to become the chief architect of free India’s Constitution—he is in their bones. He is their messiah as were Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. Their messages were the same: legal freedom and constitutionalism mean nothing as long as systematic discrimination, preserved by habit, religion or custom is not eradicated. The withdrawal of the British from India, Ambedkar believed, did not automatically create a free nation. Rather, the exit of the British was an event which would create the conditions for real freedom. That would be the real challenge for India’s new leaders: a fresh struggle to rid this land of institutionalised prejudice, preserved as a handy tool by the British to perpetuate their Raj.…
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Unnao rape case: Allahabad HC reserves verdict; final judgment tomorrow

unnao rape caseAbove: BJP MLA from Unnao Kuldip Singh Sengar, facing rape charges,arrived at the Chief Ministers office,  in Lucknow on Monday/Photo: UNI The Allahabad High Court bench of Chief Justice D B Bhosale and Justice Sunit Kumar on Thursday (April 12) reserved its verdict on the infamous Unnao rape case in which the BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar is prime accused. The bench said that it will pronounce the verdict tomorrow. During today’s hearing, the UP government said that there was not enough evidence against the accused BJP MLA to initiate action. And they will only take action if they will have enough evidence. The UP government also said that action will be taken as per the law against the MLA and whatever action has been taken is according to law only. To which the bench expressed displeasure over the response of the government. On Wednesday, the court had taken a suo motu cognizance of the case. Sengar is yet to be arrested even though he has been charged under Sections 363, 366, 376, 506 and POCSO Act. —India Legal Bureau…
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Calcutta HC stays WB panchayat polls til further orders

While the Calcutta High Court on Thursday (April 12) ordered that the violence-torn panchayat poll process in West Bengal be stayed till further orders, it also slapped a fine of Rs 5 lakh on the state BJP for keeping the Calcutta High Court in the ark while it also approached the Supreme Court on the issue, a process that Justice Subrata Talukdar called “forum hopping.” Justice Talukdar also directed the State Election Commission to file a full status report by Monday, detailing the nominations filed and the percentage of nominations rejected. On that day the court will also hear pleas against the SEC’s decision to withdraw its April 9 notification, which had extended the date for filing nominations by a day. On April 10 Justice Talukdar had stayed the withdrawal of the SEC’s April 9 notification The complaint from opposition parties in the state (mainly the state BJP) has been that the Trinamool Congress was not allowing nominations to be filed and was resorting to violence. The Congress too had complained. –         India Legal Bureau…
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Supreme Court throws out West Bengal BJP demand to oversee state panchayat elections

Top court asks state chapter of the BJP to approach the state election commission instead The Supreme Court bench of Justices R K Agrawal and Abhay Manohar Sapre on Monday (April 9) threw out an appeal by the  Bharatiya Janata Party, West Bengal, who had appealed to the top court, complaining that they were not being allowed by Trinamool Congress (TMC), the state’s ruling party, to file nominations for upcoming Panchayat polls. The BJP had sought the court’s intervention which the court has summarily rejected. The bench said: “We cannot interfere in this matter.” The bench asked the BJP, which, anyway, has a miniscule presence in that state, that “you can approach to state election commission.” The court also refused to postpone the date of the election. The BJP, trying strong-arm tactics to gain a toehold in the state – where it has failed on multiple occasions to even scratch the poll surface – had complained that TMC activists were not allowing its (BJP) candidates to file nominations. In its writ, it had demanded that the top court should intervene and do any or all of the following: Issue an appropriate writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus directing the respondent No.…
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Bengal panchayat elections: SC to hear BJP complaint on nominees not allowed to file nomination

The matter of panchayat elections in West Bengal, the BJP has reached the Supreme Court with allegations that their candidates are not being allowed to fill the nomination forms for the election. The Supreme Court is prepared to hear the allegations. These will be heard tomorrow (April 6). April 9 is the last date of filing nominations to the elections. The petition has been taken up to the Supreme Court by the BJP secretary of West Bengal. The petition also asks for the extension of the nomination filing date to beyond April 9. The petition also says that violence in the state regarding the elections and BJP nominees are not being able to file their nominations. –      India Legal Bureau…
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THE WISDOM OF FLEXIBILITY

~By Inderjit Badhwar Andhra Pradesh supremo N Chandrababu Naidu has all but called it quits with his alliance partner, the BJP, over the issue of “special status” for his state. Political compulsions may well have prompted the ruling party to grab the TDP as an NDA partner. But the relationship came at a price that the Sangh ideologues are unwilling to pay. Taking advantage of the Telangana-Andhra split to shore up its majority in Parliament was the easy part. What the reigning dispensation finds difficult to swallow—or at least to acknowledge in public—is the “special status” concept. It goes against the grain of the RSS’s Akhand Bharat dogma which is in direct conflict with the philosophy of increased federalism and greater autonomy for states. The BJP also finds this demand in sharp conflict with its own vote-catching narratives of the unfolding of India’s modern history. Among the most effective of these is that Kashmir enjoys a special status because of the Congress’s appeasement of the Muslim-majority state and the benefits conferred on it through Article 370. This is an important example of how distortions and half-truths become obstacles in the path of peaceful and progressive solutions. The common refrain of the RSS is that “special privileges” given to the Kashmiris (read Muslims) have prevented the Muslim majority state’s “full integration” with India.…
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PostCard News founder M V Hegde arrested for spreading fake news that instigates communal flare-ups

The founder of online news portal, PostCard News Mahesh Vikram Hegde was arrested on Thursday (March 29) on charges of spreading spurious and communally sensitive news by the Karnataka police, Alt News reported. Hegde was taken into custody after he posted on social media that Jain monk Upadhyaya Mayank Sagar Ji Maharaj was attacked by some Muslim youth. However, Jain monk was actually injured in a road accident. Hegde’s arrest sparked outrage particularly from the BJP party. BJP MP Pratap Simha launched an attack on the ruling Congress government. Simha tweeted: “Today morning Coward Congress Govt (Karnataka) arrested @mvmeet Mahesh Vikram Hegde under unconnected IT act 66, that too by using CCB! Shame on you @INCKarnataka.” “Postcard News, the publication run by Hegde is known for patently false news to polarize communities. Postcard News has time and again been promoted by senior members of BJP. States with non-BJP governments like West Bengal and Karnataka are a particular focus of the propaganda spread by this mega factory of fake news. Earlier in November 2017, an FIR had been filed against the admins of Postcard News for an alleged derogatory post,” Alt News reported . —India Legal Bureau…
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HISTORY AT YOUR SERVICE?

Above: (Clockwise from top left) Renowned historians Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib and British archaeologist the late Mortimer Wheeler   ~By Inderjit Badhwar Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed a committee of “scholars” under the guidance of Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, ostensibly to re-examine and reconstruct Indian history, particularly the ancient and medieval periods, heated arguments have broken out whether this is yet another political tactic by the Sangh Parivar to legitimise its Hindutva-oriented foothold over India. The official answer is that there is no such intention. “We are attempting to capture the antiquity of Indian history, culture and tradition. We will make recommendations and the committee will also be responsible to create resource materials and contents on the same,” a committee member said in response to a newspaper query. He denied the committee was linked to any effort to alter the reading of history. Other sources say the board’s directive could include an inspection of long-held perspective on the advent of Aryans and the fruition of Sanskrit. Saffron pundits have habitually confronted the Aryan “invasion” premise spelled out by some of the world’s most renowned scholars. Actually, as I will demonstrate later with a few examples, the whole exercise really boils down to self-serving “facts” which are manipulated by ruling dispensations to convince people to buy into their political hegemony and dominance.…
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Political Funding: The Foreign Hand

An amendment to the FCRA Act, 2010 will allow political parties to receive foreign funds without scrutiny. Is it another step towards the opacity of political finance in India?   ~By SY Quraishi  While parliament has been in a deadlock for the last two weeks, it has managed to quietly pass a bill, an amendment to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010, that exempts political parties from scrutiny of foreign funds received by them. There was no debate on the bill and unsurprisingly, no political party seemed to be upset that it was passed in parliament. The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act was first passed in 1976. The clause that prohibits political parties from accepting funds from abroad defines a foreign firm as that which has “more than one-half of the nominal value of its share capital held” by “corporations incorporated in a foreign country or territory”. The FCRA, 1976, was later replaced with the FCRA, 2010. The FCRA, 2010, is a consolidating Act with the aim to “regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals or associations or companies and to prohibit acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”.…
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BJP MLA asks why AAP’s Gahlot is still in Assembly despite being disqualified; Delhi HC asks for reply

BJP MLA Vijender Gupta has moved the Delhi High Court against the ruling Aam Aadmi Party for allowing disqualified member Kailash Gahlot to attend Assembly sessions. Vijender Gupta contended that Gahlot, along with 19 other AAP MLAs, was disqualified by the Election Commission with retrospective effect from 2015. He was appointed as minister in May 2017. Even at that point of time he was not an MLA. Therefore, he cannot continue as minister even for a day in the given timeline. He should have been immediately removed from government. He further said that in a statement it is also submitted to the LG that rule 43(2) of the GNCTD Act, 1991, held that a minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the Legislative Assembly shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a minister. Justice Rekha Palli said: “I know that in a case where they are disqualified by the President they cannot continue attending the assembly, but let them file a reply. Petitioners Gupta, OP Sharma and Jagdish Pradhan have filed the present petition to direct the Union of India and Delhi Vidhan Sabha Speaker to take decision to remove Gahlot from the council of ministers in the government of National Capital Territory of Delhi and not to permit him to participate in the proceedings of the House of Delhi Legislative Assembly as a minister.…
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