Monthly Archives: JANUARY 2018
Facing Flak, Govt Withdraws Plan
No orange coloured passports, will retain last page with address
The Narendra Modi government has made a u-turn on its proposal to change the passport colour from blue to orange for people with Emigration Check Required (ECR) status.
After facing criticism, the government on Tuesday decided to rollback the decision to print orange-coloured passports for "emigration check-required” (ECR) passport-holders as well as doing away with the last page of the passport.
The reversal of decision was announced by the Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday.
In a statement, the MEA said that after "comprehensive discussions” with the various stakeholders – following several individual and collective representations, the MEA has decided to continue with the current practice of printing of the last page of the passport and not to issue a separate passport with orange colour jacket to ECR passport holders.
"At a meeting chaired by External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on January 29, 2018, in the presence of General (Retd.) V.K. Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, the decision of the MEA on both these issues was reviewed in the light of these representations. After comprehensive discussions with the various stakeholders, the MEA has decided to continue with the current practice of printing of the last page of the passport and not to issue a separate passport with orange colour jacket to ECR passport holders.”
It mentioned that a decision was taken by the Ministry of External Affairs on the recommendations of a three Member Committee comprising officials of MEA and the Ministry of Women and Child Development, not to print the last page of Passport Booklet. MEA also took the decision to issue a passport with orange colour jacket to passport holders with ECR status, with a view to help and assist them on priority basis.
The MEA had received several individual and collective representations requesting to reconsider these two decisions, according to the statement.
On January 12, the MEA had announced that passports may soon not have the information printed on the last page, including names of father/legal guardian, mother, spouse, and address. However, they will still be available in the government database, and can be read by authorities through the barcode in the passport.
Tytler claims Rajiv Gandhi travelled with him during 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Sukhbir says ex-PM 'supervised killings'
Former Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday launched a scathing attack on the Congress party citing a recent statement by former Union minister and Congress leader Jagdish Tytler in connection with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The Akali Dal leader has alleged that then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was "supervising the killings”.
"Jagdish Tytler has revealed that Rajiv Gandhi travelled with him across the city in 1984. It means that the then PM was supervising the killings,” said Badal.
However, Punjab CM and Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh told ANI today that Jagadish Tytler’s revelation is not true.
Earlier today, Tytler said in an interview to News 18 that Rajiv Gandhi took several rounds of North Delhi with him to assess the situation in the wake of 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Tytler told New18 that Rajiv Gandhi had "recced the areas” in his car and was "extremely anguished” at Delhi Congress MPs, who were told to contain the situation in their constituencies.
Reacting to the claim, Badal said that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) must look into the information revealed by Tytler as it is a "very serious issue”.
Tytler is one of those named as being the organisers of the riots by the Nanavati Commission in its report submitted ten years ago. He is also accused of killing three Sikhs outside the Gurudwara Pulbangash in his Delhi north constituency during the riots.
As part of its investigation, CBI had asked Tytler to undergo a lie-detector test, which the politician had said he was ready for, even though he wasn’t legally bound. The fresh impetus to re-investigate the Congress leader’s role in 1984 riots is due to the claims of Tytler’s former aide who has deposed against him in a Kardooma court.
1984 anti-Sikh riots activist HS Phoolka had caused a flutter earlier by demanding that former PM Rajiv Gandhi’s Bharat Ratna should be taken back as he had"justified" the killings in 1984 carnage, a plea dismissed as cheap politics by Congress.
He had said "A Prime Minister who justifies the killing of innocent citizens, definitely does not deserve Bharat Ratna. We therefore call upon the government to withdraw the Bharat Ratna conferred upon Rajiv Gandhi.”
He added: "A Prime Minister who takes three years even to count the dead bodies of innocent citizens killed in daylight in the capital cannot be a Bharat Ratna," they said, holding Congress responsible for the massacre. "We demand Rajiv Gandhi's Bharat Ratna be taken back."
Notably, earlier this month, the Supreme Court constituted a new Special Investigation Team (SIT) to re-investigate 186 1984-anti-Sikh riot cases that followed the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Retired justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra has been named the head of the SIT. Retired IAS officer Rajdeep Singh and IPS officer Avishek Dullar are the other two members of the committee that would re-investigate the cases.
The committee has been directed to file an interim report within two months in the Supreme Court.
A total of 3,325 people were killed in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and other states in the riots after Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984. Delhi alone accounted for 2,733 deaths.
The 1984 anti-Sikh riots are considered one of the most violent cases of communal hatred after the partition in 1947. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its 2011 World Report stated, "The government has yet to prosecute those responsible for the mass killings of Sikhs that followed the 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. Delivery of justice for mass violence against Muslims in Mumbai in 1992-93 and in Gujarat in 2002 has been slow."
One dead, several injured in communal clashes during 'Tiranga Yatra'
Muslims, Dalits done, now 'they' are targeting our children; end the silence: Kejriwal
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday it was imperative to speak against the forces that "killed Muslims and burnt Dalits” and are now "intruding into our homes, coming after our children” as he condemned the attack on a school bus by a mob protesting the release of Padmaavat in Gurgaon.
The Delhi Chief Minister said it was a "matter of shame" for the nation that school children were attacked just a few kilometres from the national capital before Republic Day celebrations.
"I appeal to everyone. We cannot afford to remain silent anymore. They killed Muslims, burnt Dalits alive, thrashed them. Today, they have started pelting our children with stones, have started intruding into our homes. Don't remain silent now, speak up," Kejriwal said in a speech during an event to mark Republic Day tomorrow.
Kejriwal demanding strong punishment against the attackers and called for a unity against forces dividing the country in the name of caste and religion.
"It is the land of Rama, Krishna, Gautam Budhha, Mahavira, Guru Nanak, Kabir and Meera, followers of Prophet Mohammad and Jesus Christ."
"Did Lord Rama, Krishna, Guru Nanak Sahib, Gautam Budhha, Mahavir, Prophet Mohammad, Kabir, Meera or Mahatma Gandhi ever asked their followers to attack children. I want to ask were the people who hurled stones Hindus, Muslims or Christians? Which religion preaches violence against children?"
Telling people that he is a Hindu and a devotee of Lord Rama, Kejriwal said if Rama was here in this world today, what punishment would he have given to those attacking children?
"The punishment he (Lord Rama) bestowed upon Rawan for his cruelty, similar is required for those who stormed the school bus yesterday," he said.
"I am raising this issue with a heavy heart as I love my nation. I cannot see such violence in the country. India has given the message of peace and harmony to the entire world. We, the people of India, love our country and want to live with peace and harmony. We love each other, our children. I request the powers at the Centre, please spare us," he said.
Kejriwal said he couldn't sleep last night after Wednesday's incident. "No matter how big an issue may become but you can't attack children," he said.
The men who attacked the bus were detained and sent to 14 days in judicial custody on Thursday, ANI reported.
Kejriwal on Wednesday raised questions over the inability of the state and central governments in ensuring the safe release of controversial film amid violent protests by fringe outfits, including Rajput caste groups.
"If all state gov(ernmen)ts, central gov(ernmen)t and (the) Supreme Court together cannot get one movie released and run safely, how can we expect investments to flow in,” Kejriwal tweeted.
The Delhi chief minister said there should not be any political interference in constitutional bodies otherwise they will not be able to perform their duties, in a veiled attack on the move of Election Commission disqualifying 20 MLAs of his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
"Constitutional institutions in the country are good but politics is not. There should not be political interference,” he added.
Little children of the GD Goenka World School kneeled down on the floor and held their teachers to escape stones thrown at their bus at the Sohna Road yesterday afternoon. The children cried in fear as the goons - around 60 of them - struck the bus with sticks in an attempt to force the bus to stop. The protesters were blocking the road and had burnt a state-run bus just seconds before.
A video captured the frightening moments for the children and teachers, who were on their way home when their bus was caught in protests against "Padmaavat", which released today. Groups protesting the film allege that it insults Rajput pride and distorts the story of 14th century Queen Padmavati, who was coveted by Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji but preferred to die rather than be captured by him.
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