Monthly Archives: JUNE 2017


KK Venugopal Will Be The Next Attorney General, President Okays Appointment
30.06.17 -
KK Venugopal Will Be The Next Attorney General, President Okays Appointment



Senior advocate KK Venugopal is the new Attorney General for India. President Pranab Mukherjee has approved his appointment and formal orders are expected soon. Venugopal, 86, will succeed Mukul Rohatgi, who stepped down earlier this month, saying he wishes to get back to private practice.  

According to NDTV report, Venugopal had served as the Additional Solicitor General in the Morarji Desai government. He assisted the Supreme Court in a number of cases and was an amicus curiae in the 2G spectrum scam case.

Among the cases  Venugopal had handled are the Mandal case, Ayodhya dispute, Presidential reference regarding appointment of Judges and also the case involving judicial appointments.

He represented former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in the wealth case and defended her in the petition challenging her appointment as Chief Minister. He argued in the Presidential reference in Gujarat elections case in 2002.  

He was also the counsel for LK. Advani in Babri Masjid demolition case and argued against slapping of conspiracy charge against the veteran BJP leader.

He had also represented Dalit powerhouse Mayawati in a corruption cases and assisted the Bhutan government to frame its constitution

Over his 50-year career, Venugopal has received many awards, including a Padma Vibhushan in 2015, Padma Bhushan in 2002, and many honours from national and international universities.

Venugopal's predecessor Rohatgi, 61, had his term extended on June 3. On June 12, he wrote to the government saying he did not wish to have his term extended. Sources in the law ministry said they were "not aware why the Attorney General is not keen to continue".

"I have worked for five years as law officer under the Vajpayee government and now three years under the Modi government," the Attorney General had told NDTV. "I want to return to my private practice. I have a good relationship with the government... That's why I wrote to the government not to extend my term".
 
(Courtesy: NDTV)




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Negative Atmosphere Being Created In Name Of Religion: Manmohan Singh
29.06.17 - team pt
Negative Atmosphere Being Created In Name Of Religion: Manmohan Singh



HOURS AFTER Prime Minister Narendra Modi denounced mob lynchings in the name of cow protection, former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh made a rare intervention to express concern at the kind of atmosphere being created in the name of religion in the country.

 
The backdrop of the former Prime Minister's remarks is a series of attacks on Muslims in different parts of the country, usually by cow vigilantes. On Wednesday, thousands of people had also come out in several part of the country under the "Not in My Name" campaign to protest mob violence and atrocities against Muslims and Dalits.

"The atmosphere being created in the name of religion reminds me of Iqbal’s couplet (Mazhab ke naam pe jo galat asar phailaya ja rha hai, mujhe Allama Iqbal ki ek nazm yaad aati hai)…’Mazhab nahin sikhata aapas mein bair rakhna” (Religion doesn’t preach ill-will against each other),” Singh said, while speaking at an Eid Milan function organised in Delhi, as quoted by news agency ANI.
 
Everybody should try to ensure communal harmony in the society and across religions, live like a family, Dr. Singh said.

"We have to stay in brotherhood and create an atmosphere that is in accordance with the path shown by our Constitution and the law," Dr. Singh said.
 
As prime minister too, the Congress leader often called fighting divisive communal forces one of the biggest challenges for society as well as for law enforcement agencies.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flayed self-styled ‘gau rakshaks’ and said killing people in the name of protecting the cow was "unacceptable” that Mahatma Gandhi would never approve of, "No person in this nation has the right to take the law in his or her own hands in this country."




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FIR against Indrani Mukherjee, others in Prison Riot Case
26.06.17 - team pt
FIR against Indrani Mukherjee, others in Prison Riot Case



A day after inmates of the Byculla women's prison went berserk to protest the alleged murder of a 35- year-old lifer, high-profile undertrial Indrani Mukerjea has come under scanner on suspicion of instigating the prisoners.
 
A preliminary inquiry, sources said, has found that Indrani, who is lodged in the jail for her alleged involvement in the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora, guided the inmates to use children as human shields while staging the violent protest. Children up to six are allowed to stay with their mothers at the Byculla facility.

Over 200 prisoners and undertrials were booked after they fought off guards to climb out on to the jail terrace to protest the death of Manjula Shete, who was allegedly beaten up following a confrontation with prison officials.
 
A case of murder was registered at Nagpada police station after the jail officials received the post mortem report on Saturday. The report signed by three doctors—P A Patil, N P Kamble and S V Khandare from JJ Hospital—stated 'evidence of multiple contusions' as the cause of death. Samples of her viscera will be sent for forensic analysis.
 
The six officials—jailor Manisha Pokharkar and guards Bindu Naikode, Waseema Shaikh, Sheetal Shegaokar, Surekha Gudve and Aarti Shingane—were suspended on Saturday for dereliction of duty after the news of Shetye's death spread. On Saturday morning, around 200 women inmates, including Indrani Mukherjee, climbed up the two-storey jail's terrace and staged a protest over the death, with some of them setting papers, books and clothes on fire. Nagpada police, who rushed to the prison and brought them down, have registered a case of rioting and criminal conspiracy against the protesters.

The women inmates claimed Shetye had died of heart attack after being beaten up by some jail officers and no emergency medical aid was provided to her after she collapsed. Shetye had collapsed in the women inmates' barrack number 5 (circle number 1) around 5.30 pm on Friday. She was rushed to JJ Hosptial where she was declared dead. Shetye's brothers, Sharad and Anand, identified her body in the hospital. Her relatives said she was not ill and that they were informed only after her death.
 
A jail officer said Shetye, who spent 12 years of her sentence in Pune's Yerwada jail, was promoted as warden in Pune jail and last month her request for transfer to Mumbai prison was also sanctioned. "Shetye had been in the jail for more than 11 years. She was designated as warden and her job was to maintain law and order and ensure adherence to rules and regulations like police person. She had access to many places except the ones that are meant for jail staff only. It's also possible that something might have happened between her and the jail staff which led to her being slapped her or more," the officer said.





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Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit leader and Bihar Governor to be NDA Cadidate for President of India
19.06.17 - team pt
Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit leader and Bihar Governor to be NDA Cadidate for President of India



Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind has been made the National Democratic Alliance's presidential candidate, announced Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah on Monday at a press conference after the party's parliamentary body meet.

Shah further said that Kovind’s name was decided upon after consultations with Opposition leaders, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi and ex-prime minister Manmohan Singh.

"PM has personally spoken to Sonia Gandhi ji, Manmohan Singh ji and everyone has been informed about the decision,” he added. 

Gandhi had said that the Congress’ decision will be announced after discussion, Shah said.

"Mr. Kovind will file nomination on June 23. We have simply informed other leaders," said Shah. "I am hoping for consensus on Mr. Kovind's candidature," Shah added.

Kovind, born on October 1, 1945, is currently the Governor of Bihar. He is a Dalit leader who has been Bihar’s governor for three years, since the beginning of Modi’s tenure. Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Kovind has been elected as a Rajya Sabha MP twice, in 1994 and 2000. He is also an advocate and has practiced law for 12 years. Kovind was Central Government Advocate in Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979 and Central Government Standing Counsel in Supreme Court from 1980 to 1993. He became Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court of India in 1978.

Notably, if elected, Kovind will be the second Dalit Indian president after K R Narayanan.

The presidential polls will be held on July 17.




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Finally, the heat from India's restive villages is reaching Modi
FARMERS’ UNREST: Chidambaram mounts scathing attack on Modi govt
19.06.17 - pt bureau
FARMERS’ UNREST: Chidambaram mounts scathing attack on Modi govt



IN A SCATHING attack on the Narendra Modi government for its handling of the farm sector in the country, top Congress leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram today said the failure to increase MSP of crops and the "grave error" of demonetisation resulted in the "man-made calamity" responsible for farmer agitations across India.

Chidambaram, whose attack is so far the sharpest to have come from the Congress, and also the most reasoned, went directly for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's jugular when he wrote: "The holder of the highest political office promised a total loan waiver, why blame the farmers for demanding that the promise be implemented?"
After days of watching the government grappling with full-blown farmers' agitations in Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, and some of its leaders seemingly either joining action on the sidelines, or trying to ride the wave for some photo-ops, most voices from the Congress have restricted themselves to shrill opposition in TV debates and oft-repeated homilies.

As a result, much of the opposition space was ceded to agriculture experts. So much so that often  journalist-turned-activist-turned-Baba Ramdev admirer-turned-twitter-tv persona Devendra Sharma would appear on nine to ten channels a night to criticise the government in terms always measured lest they offend any ArunJaitley or Modi a little too much for comfort.

In such a scenario, Chidambaram's weekly column in a leading national daily has remained a voice of reason, though his own UPA government's conduct was often marred by the sins he accuses NDA of. 

Calling the situation in the country "explosive," and conceding that agriculture remains the largest employer in India "despite its declining share in total output (GDP)," and thus "has primacy," Chidambaram said "the NDA government lost sight of this basic truth." 

Ridiculing the country's Agriculture Minister, Chidambaram, himself a heavyweight in Indian politics, challenged the people to recall the name of the country's Agriculture Minister.

"The Minister of Agriculture, unchanged since May 2014, is a political lightweight with little clout within the government. How many of you can name Mr Sharad Pawar’s successor?" he said.

Reminding the BJP that it "had unequivocally promised that it would implement the M S Swaminathan Committee’s recommendation that MSP should be cost plus 50 per cent," he said, "The BJP not only reneged on its promise, it dealt a body blow to farmers by denying them even a reasonable increase in MSP in its first three years."

Refuting the argument that increase in MSP would have led to inflation, the former Finance Minister said that argument was "the height of folly."

"Some inflation is inevitable, and the government and the RBI must use other instruments to moderate inflation rather than reduce the farming community to penury," he added.

Chidambaram also came down heavily on demonetisation decision of Modi and unequivocally concurred with the view that Indian farm production has "entered deflation territory" and that the "proximate trigger clearly has been demonetisation."

He said the farmers cannot be blamed for seeking a loan waiver since it was the PM himself who announced that all loans of UP farmers will be waived if the BJP formed the government. 

This, said Chidambaram, "has returned to haunt the BJP in several states."

Justifying the 2008 waiver announced by the UPA government, he argued that the fiscal situation then "was excellent, growth had found a new momentum, and a one-time loan forgiveness to small and medium farmers was justified." 

"Having mounted a tiger, the BJP does not know how to dismount it. Meanwhile, the tiger is galloping through Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Gujarat," Chidambaram said.

Interestingly, while the BJP is staying away from the demonetisation debate and its leaders and minions no more sing hosannas to Modi's 'surgical strike' on economy lest people are reminded of their travails standing before ATM booths in serpentine queues, some loyal-than-the-king defenders of the regime are just not picking the hint. A day before Chidambaram's column appeared, economist Surjit S Bhalla, whose main job is to defend Modi in TV debates, exerted himself in the same newspaper to claim that demonetisation was indeed pushing India towards a cashless economy with less black money, and added, for good measure, "(Even) Your sixth-grade daughter will tell you (that.)" 

Experts are now near unanimous that demonetisation heavily impacted the prices received during harvest price crash, and the fall in prices was generalised across agricultural commodities. 

Making this argument in Indian Express, senior agriculture policy analyst Harish Damodaran, who was also quoted by Chidambaram, said, "(M)uch of the produce trading in India is cash-based and financed through a chain of mandi intermediaries, processors, input dealers and retailers...(T)his traditional agro-commercial capital was dealt a body blow by demonetisation."
 
(Read Punjab Today's report on farm unrest's link with demonetisation and the politics of the farm sector debate http://bit.ly/ptkeycon  ).
 
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Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged. 
— Team PT




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