Monthly Archives: APRIL 2016


Uttarakhand forest fires: NDRF teams sent to control blaze, PMO assures help
30.04.16 - pt team
Uttarakhand forest fires: NDRF teams sent to control blaze, PMO assures help



The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Saturday sought information on fires in forests in Uttarakhand from the state government and assured all possible relief. 

Raging forest fires in Uttarakhand prompted the Centre to send in three companies of the National Disaster Response Force or NDRF to put out the flames and conduct rescue operations. In all, 135 personnel have been pushed into service in the hill state, sources said.
 
According to NDTV report, Governor KK Paul had asked for the NDRF's help to deal with the crisis. He had, on Thursday, doubled the number of state personnel deployed to tackle the fires to 6,000. A high-level meeting he chaired of the state's top officials also decided to provide water tankers to put out fires.
 
Since early February, 922 incidents of forest fires in the state have been reported in which five people, including three women and a child, died in separate incidents, reported the news agency Press Trust of India. Seven others were injured, Principal Conservator of Forest (PCF) BP Gupta said.
 
Pauri, Tehri and Nainital are the worst affected districts because they have a thick cover of Cheed and Sal trees which are highly inflammable, officials said.
 
Locals have being told to report a fire incident to the district magistrate concerned as soon as they sight it.
 
"The NDRF companies, assisted by experts, will launch fire extinguishing and rescue operations in affected areas immediately," Chief Secretary Shatrughna Singh said, adding the focus is on taking precautions to minimise loss to forest wealth and wildlife.  
 
Inspector General of Police Sanjay Gunjyal has been deputed to coordinate with the NDRF, the district magistrates concerned and Principal Conservator of Forest (PCF) to supervise the rescue operations, he said.
 
Locals have being told to report a fire incident to the district magistrate concerned as soon as they sight it so that it can be controlled in time.
 
"Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul convened an important meeting of officials concerned last evening to review the steps being taken to control the forest fires spreading to residential areas," Mr Gupta, who is also the nodal officer for fire incidents in Kumaon and Garhwal regions, had said on Friday.

Forest fires are natural during summer but this time they have occurred on a bigger scale. The  forest fire season which normally begins by mid February, started on February 2 when two women were charred to death in the jungles of Uttarkashi, the PCF said.
Since early February, 922 cases of forest fire incidents in the state have occurred killing five people, reported NDTV.
 
The other three casualties including that of a woman and her six-year-old child were reported from Nainital and Pauri districts, he said.

The PCF said the scale of forest fires in Uttarakhand this time has been bigger due to little or no rain during winter at most places.

Pre-fire alerts listing possible fire points over the next seven days in forest areas are being made available on the Forest Department website www.forest.uk.govt.
 
Former chief minister Harish Rawat has asked the governor to declare Uttarakhand as fire-disaster stricken state and involve locals in fire extinguishing efforts.




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Digvijay Singh’s daughter Karnika Singh passes away
29.04.16 - pt team
Digvijay Singh’s daughter Karnika Singh passes away



Kannika Singh daughter of Congress leader Digvijaya Singh died due to cancer in New Delhi on Friday. 37-year-old Karnika is the youngest among the four daughters of Singh. She was admitted in Max Hospital, Saket, a few days ago and breathed her last at around 5 AM. She had undergone treatment for the disease in the US as well. 
 
Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi along with senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad visited Singh at his residence located in 64 Lodhi Estate. Karnika’s body has been taken to Wadhwan in Gujarat via road for the last rites. 
 
Karnika was married to Siddharth Singh Jhala of Wadhwan royal family in Surendra Nagar district of Gujarat. She is survived by her husband and seven-year-old-son, Prabhavoday Singh Jhala. 
 
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan expressed grief over the demise of Digvijaya’s daughter.  "The untimely demise of Digvijay Singh’s daughter, Karnika Singh is very painful. I pray to God to give strength to the bereaved family and peace to the departed soul,” Chouhan said in a tweet.




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Kejriwal to CIC: Educational qualifications of NaMo should be released in public
28.04.16 - pt team
Kejriwal to CIC: Educational qualifications of NaMo should be released in public



Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has shown keen interest to seek the educational details of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader wrote to Chief Information Commission, demanding the educational qualifications of Modi to be released in public domain.
 
Despite several Right to Information (RTI) pleas filed by activists, the CIC has not released the educational details of the Prime Minister. Although, Modi claims to be a post-graduate in Arts from Gujarat University, critics allege that he has hardly completed his SSC.
 
In his letter to the CIC, Kejriwal reportedly said, "Nation has the right to know the educational details of the Prime Minister. His educational qualifications should be released in the public at earliest.” AAP convenor also took a jibe at Modi saying, he is not above the law. "The RTI act gives us the right to know the qualifications of the person holding the position of the Prime Minister,” he added. Kejriwal, himself, has been an RTI activist before entering the political arena.
 
Kejriwal had earlier too criticised the Prime Minister for fooling the nation regarding his educational qualifications. The party has also appealed the Election Commission to examine the claims made by Modi in his poll affidavits. As per the details disclosed by him, he completed his Bachelor in Arts in 1978 from Delhi University. Subsequently, he pursued MA from Gujarat University in 1983.




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Uttarakhand: President’s rule to continue; No floor test on 29 April; SC poses 7 questions
27.04.16 - pt team
Uttarakhand: President’s rule to continue; No floor test on 29 April; SC poses 7 questions



President’s rule will continue in Uttarakhand and an April 29 floor test in the Assembly, ordered by the Uttarakhand High Court will not take place, as the Supreme Court today extended its stay on the quashing of Central rule.
 
Hearing the Centre’s appeal against the High Court order, revoking President’s rule, the apex court framed seven tough questions and even gave liberty to the Attorney-General to include other questions the government would like to be addressed.
 
The bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh posted the matter for further hearing on May 3 amidst indication that the verdict may be pronounced before the court breaks for summer vacation by the middle of next month.
 
The bench made it clear that it was extending the stay on the High Court verdict till further orders on the consent of parties.
 
Acoording to a Firstpost report, The top court was hearing the Centre's plea against Uttarakhand High Court's order which set aside the President's rule in the state. An apex court bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra on 22 April had stayed the Uttarakhand High Court's verdict reinstating Chief Minister Harish Rawat in Uttarakhand till Wednesday.
 
Here are the questions put up the top court:
 
1. Whether governor could have sent message in present manner under Article 175 (2) to conduct floor test?
 
2. Whether governor can ask Assembly Speaker for division of votes as both are Constitutional authorities?
 
3. Can a delay in the floor test be ground for proclamation of President’s rule in state?
 
4. Convention is money bill failed, government goes but who is to say money bill hasn’t been passed if Speaker doesn’t say so?
 
5. What is the stage of appropriation bill and when President’s rule comes in the picture with regards to Appropriation bill?
 
6. Whether disqualification of MLAs by the Speaker is a relevant issue for the purpose of imposing President’s rule under Article 356?
 
7. Can proceeding in the Uttarakhand Assembly be taken note by the President for imposing President’s rule?

The political crisis in Uttarakhand emerged after nine rebel MLAs from Congress defected to BJP during a debate over the state budget in March. They were later disqualified. Following the disqualification, Governor KK Paul asked deposed Chief Minister Rawat to prove his majority in the assembly.
 
In a stunning verdict on 21 April, the Uttarakhand High Court quashed the President's rule imposed by the Centre which restored the dismissed Congress government and castigated the Centre for uprooting a democratically-elected government.
 
The Supreme Court delivered a major blow to the former Congress government on 23 April by staying the Uttarakhand High Court's verdict setting aside President's Rule in the state. The verdict effectively re-imposed President's Rule in the state. On 27 March, the BJP-led government at the Centre had imposed President's Rule in Uttarakhand, leading the Congress, which was in power, to term it as a 'murder of democracy.' The judgment gave a new turn to the continuing political drama in the state.
 
Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, along with senior advocate Harish Salve, had pressed for the stay of the High Court judgment. He said how one party can be put at advantage and assume the office of Chief Minister when the other party is pushed to disadvantage in the absence of the judgment.
 
Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal, appearing for Rawat and the Assembly Speaker, argued hard against the passing of any interim order saying "you are allowing the appeal by giving the stay". Sibal was of the view that allowing stay of operation of the High Court verdict would be like enforcing the proclamation of the President rule.
 
During the jam-packed hearing, the bench sought to pacify both the parties saying that it has to take a balanced view as this is a Constitutional court. "We will take on record the copy of the judgement and go through it. This matter may go to Constitution bench," the bench said.
 
The apex court had clarified on 23 April that it was keeping in abeyance the judgment of the High Court till the next date of hearing (Today) as a measure of balance for both the parties as the copy of the verdict was not made available to the parties.
 
Congress members blocked the Parliament on Wednesdsay over Uttarakhand and shouted slogans in both Houses while accusing the Modi government of using underhand means to take over opposition-ruled states. The Uttarakhand High Court had said President's Rule should be a "last resort" and dismissing an elected government breeds cynicism in citizens.





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JNU row: Kanhaiya fined Rs 10,000, Umar and Anirban rusticated
25.04.16 - pt team
JNU row: Kanhaiya fined Rs 10,000, Umar and Anirban rusticated



The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration on Monday announced rustication of Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhhatacharya in connection with an event organised in the campus to mark the death anniversary of Afzal Guru.

According to The Hindu report, while Umar has been rusticated for one semester and a fine of Rs. 20,000 imposed on him Anirban has been declared out of bounds from the campus for five years after July 23, 2016. He has been rusticated till the period of July 15.

Both of them were arrested by Delhi police on sedition charges and spent about 15 days in Tihar jail under judicial custody.

JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, who was also charged with sedition and arrested in connection with the incident has, however, not been rusticated. The university authorities have imposed a fine of Rs. 10,000 on him.

A Kashmiri student Mujeeb Gattoo, who was found shouting "anti-national” slogans on February 9 by the varsity's High Level Enquiry Committee (HLEC) report has also been rusticated by the administration.

"The committee has recommended rustication/fine for three students, withdrawal of hostel facilities/financial penalty for two students and only financial penalty for fourteen students. Two former JNU students, moreover, have been declared out of bounds,” an official statement from the university read.

"The students who have been rusticated are – Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and Mujeeb Gattoo. A fine of Rs. 10,000 has been imposed on Kanhaiya and other students who were debarred have also been given financial penalty,” a senior official from JNU confirmed.

"The recommendation of the Committee for the above disciplinary measures pertains to "Not following university procedures”, "providing misinformation to the university”, "misconduct and indiscipline”, "causing and colluding in the unauthorized entry of any person into the campus”, "putting up objectionable poster”, "arousing communal, caste or regional feelings and creating disharmony among students”, "furnishing false certificate or false information in any manner”, "blockade or forceful prevention of any normal movement of traffic” and "violation of security, safety rules” notified by the university,” the statement added further.

Eight students were debarred by the administration following the organising of February 9 incident on the campus where some anti-national slogans were allegedly shouted. (Courtesy : The Hindu)
 
(File photo of JNU students Union President Kanhiya Kumar with Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya at JNU campus.)




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