Bengaluru CAA Protest: Despite Sec 144, People gather in large

Thousands of people gathered outside Town Hall in the city to stage a peaceful protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the draconian NRC, defying prohibitory orders imposed overnight by the state BJP government.

Police detained hundreds of people including historian Ramachandra Guha and newly elected Shivajinagar MLA Rizwan Arshad.

.@Ram_Guha arretsed by @BlrCityPolice at townhall

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Congress MLA Rizwan Arshad detained by Bengaluru police for protesting against CAA.

Protesters were brutally beaten up and dragged away in police vans, leaving many injured. They were then taken to police stations in Central Bengaluru.

However, despite heavy security deployment and threats of arrests, within minutes of the police dispersing the crowd at Town Hall, a large number of people gathered in one of the nearby roads shouting anti-CAA slogans. The police were then forced to allow protestors to carry on with their peaceful demonstrations as they had planned earlier.

The BJP-ruled Karnataka government on Wednesday evening clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 in Bengaluru and other parts of the state starting from 6 am on Thursday till the mid-night of December 21. Over 60 organisations cutting across religious lines had planned to stage peaceful protests in Bengaluru on Thursday and Friday.

Ant-CAA demonstrators across India carried out peaceful protests defying bans as anger swells against the highly sectarian and anti-Constitutional citizenship law, following days of protests and clashes that have left at least six dead.

According to the Act, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship. The Act intentionally leaves out Muslims.

The BJP-led government has said the new law will be followed by a National Register of Citizens (NRC) that means Muslims must prove they were original residents of India and not refugees from these three countries. Non-Muslims listed in the law, by contrast, have a clear path to citizenship.

The religiously discriminatory mechanisms of the Act shares worrying similarities with the rhetoric and policies of the Nazi German state between 1929-1940.



Shaik Zakeer Hussain, Editor,


Kerala Catholic priests launch protest, seek Cardinal’s removal

Fresh trouble has broken out at the Ernakulam and Angamaly archdioceses of the Syro Malabar Catholic Church, as some priests on Thursday began an indefinite protest at the bishop house seeking removal of Cardinal George Alencherry as the diocesan head.

Cardinal Alencherry’s powers as the Ernakulam and Angamaly archdiocesan head was taken away last year after a criminal case was registered against him over a three-acre land deal in Kochi in 2016. However, last month it was restored and since then the faction opposed to him are up in arms.

Early this month, some 261 priests of the Syro Malabar Catholic Church in Ernakulam and Angamaly archdioceses raised the banner of revolt and went on a flash protest seeking withdrawal of suspension of two bishops and threatened to intensify the stir if the demand was not heeded.

On Thursday, the faction opposed to the Cardinal after a meeting with him decided to launch the indefinite protest at the bishop house and said they would not withdraw the protest unless their demands were met.

“We met the Cardinal. He was unable to give us a satisfactory reply on how he was able to get back the administrative powers and also about the reason for suspension of two bishops. We then decided to begin the indefinite protest,” said P. Jose, a priest.

Their other demands include withdrawal of the case registered against senior priests, alleged to have made fake documents to malign the Cardinal.

The police is keeping a watch at the bishop house as they suspect things could go out of hand anytime.



BJP to protest in Karnataka demanding CM’s resignation

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will stage protests across Karnataka on Tuesday demanding Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy’s resignation as his coalition government lost majority following the resignation of 14 Congress-JD-S legislators and two Ministers, a party official said.

“Our leaders and cadres will hold demonstrations in all the district headquarters across the state between 11 a.m. and noon for Kumaraswamy’s resignation, as he has no moral right to continue after the MLAs of the ruling allies resigned and his government has been reduced to minority in the Assembly,” Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman G. Madhusudana told IANS here.

Of the 14 lawmakers who resigned, 11 belong to the Congress and three Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S). While 10 Congress MLAs resigned on July 6, one (Anand Singh) resigned on July 1.

Small-Scale Industries Minister and Independent H. Nagesh and Municipalities Administration Minister and KPJP legislator R. Shankar resigned from the cabinet and withdrew support to the 13-month coalition government on Monday.

“If the Speaker (K.R. Ramesh Kumar) accepts the resignations of all the rebels on Tuesday, Kumaraswamy will have no option but face the floor test for a trial of strength to prove if his government has majority,” Madhusudan said.

In the 225-member Assembly, the Congress has 79 legislators excluding the Speaker, JD-S 39, BJP 105, while one each from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) and Independent.

As the nominated member from the Anglo-Christian community does not have voting rights, the half-way mark (113) is required for simple majority.

With the Independent and KPJP member withdrawing support, the government’s strength is reduced to 116, as BSP member N. Mahesh is an ally of the JD-S, three more than the halfway mark.

In the event of the Speaker accepting the resignations of all the 14 Congress-JD-S rebels, the government’s strength will reduce to 101 from 115 (78+37) and that of Assembly to 211, with 106 as the halfway mark for simple majority.

The 11 Congress legislators who resigned are Ramalinga Reddy, S.T. Somashekar, Bayrati Basavaraj, Munirathna, Pratapgauda Patil, B.C. Patil, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Shivram Hebbar, Mahesh Kumatahalli, S.N. Subba Reddy and Anand Singh.

The three JD-S MLAs are A.H. Vishwanath, N. Narayana Gowda and Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmim).

The Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah has urged the rebels to attend the CLP meeting he has conveyed during the day ahead of the 10-day monsoon session of the state legislature from Friday.



Porn stars protest against Instagram’s ‘vague’ nudity rules

 Joining others in their protest against the nudity censorship policies incorporated by Facebook in its family of apps, several porn artists protested outside Instagram’s Silicon Valley headquarters.

The adult film artists have described Instagram’s nudity rules vague, inconsistent and threatening to their livelihood, The London Free Press reported on Wednesday.

“Today (Wednesday) was such an amazing day and I am so thankful to my team, our supporters, but most importantly, our members and performers who joined this fight. We have proven we can be heard! Go [email protected],” Alana Evans, President of the Adult Performers Actors Guild (APAG), tweeted.

According to its Twitter bio, the APAG is a federally recognised union in the US organising actors and actresses in the adult film industry.

Adult film star Amber Lynn alleged that her Instagram account was disabled for “false allegation”.

According to media reports, Lynn had been building her brand on the Facebook-owned photo-messaging platform for the past five years and had gathered over 100,000 followers.

Lynn accused the platform of neither answering any queries nor giving an opportunity to correct any problems or avoid them in future.

Commenting on Lynn’s concerns, APAG tweeted, “Why would they reactivate the account, only to take it down again within 24 hours without explanation? Amber Lynn wants them to make it where they let the user know what exactly they did wrong instead of the generic ‘doesn’t meet guidelines’.”

“Instagram’s policies are totally opaque, I have no idea how they enforce them,” the report quoted porn artist Betty Tompkins, who was also de-platformed from Instagram as saying.

According to Instagram’s community guidelines, naked images are banned on the site.

“We know that there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity on Instagram.

“This includes photos, videos, and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks. It also includes some photos of female nipples, but photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed,” the policy states.

Earlier in June, about a 100 people stripped naked in front of Facebook’s New York headquarters as part of a protest against what they view as censorship regarding Facebook and Instagram’s policies around artistic nudity.

However, later in June, the social networking giant confirmed that it would meet the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and re-think its stance on artistic nudity.

The NCAC launched the #WeTheNipple campaign in April to call for a change in the policies of Facebook and Instagram to allow photographic artistic nudity.



DMK to protest government ‘inaction’ on water crisis

Tamil Nadu’s opposition DMK on Wednesday said it will hold protests at district headquarters on Saturday against the AIADMK government’s failure to take prompt action to meet the water shortage crisis.

In a statement issued here, the DMK said that to press the state government to take necessary action on a war footing to mitigate the people’s suffering, the party will hold protest in all the district headquarters on June 22.

Chennai and several other places in Tamil Nadu are suffering from water shortage.

The Cholavaram (full capacity 1,081 mcft) and Redhills (3,300 mcft) reservoirs, which cater to Chennai’s water needs, are dry while the storage at Poondi reservoir is 24 mcft as against the full capacity of 3,231 mcft, according to the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (Chennai Metro).

The Chembarambakkam lake (full capacity 3,645 mcft) has a water level of a mere 1 mcft.

The ground water levels too have gone down owing to lack of rains.



Mehbooba Mufti leads protest, wants JKLF chief freed

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday led a protest march demanding the release of JKLF Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik.

At her protest in Pulwama district, Mehbooba Mufti also sought resumption of trade across the Line of Control (LoC), revocation of the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami and the release of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief.

The match, joined by PDP activists, started at the Town Hall and went up to the District Magistrate’s office. The protesters later dispersed peacefully, police said.



Pollachi abuse case; Shops, hotels shut in protest

Shops and hotels downed their shutters in Pollachi on Tuesday in protest against the sexual abuse-cum-blackmail case that hit the Tamil Nadu town.

“It is an apolitical protest demanding punishment to all the culprits. Almost all the shops have downed their shutters as people of the town are shocked at the sordid episode. There may be one or two shops open here and there,” K. Mahalingam, Taluk Secretary of the CPM told IANS from Pollachi.

He said permission for a rally slated for Tuesday was denied.

Mahalingam also demanded a fresh probe into the suicides of girls that happened during the last seven years.

Echoing him was R. Ganesh, District Secretary (South) of Pattali Makkal Katchi party.

“All the shops are shut except pharmacies. Couple of vegetable shops selling perishables are open but they too will be closed soon. Autorickshaws too are not plying.”

The picturesque Pollachi part of Coimbatore district is located about 543 km from here.

Four persons — Thirunavukkarasu, Sathish, Sabarirajan and Vasanthakumar — all in their 20s, have been accused of sexually assaulting women in Pollachi and filming the act to blackmail them for money or for physical submission for over seven years.



Pollachi traders plan protest, shutdown on March 19

The trading community here is planning a protest shutdown on Tuesday and a rally demanding a court-monitored probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Pollachi serial sexual abuse-cum-blackmail case, said a shopkeeper.

Speaking to IANS, the the trader said the shutdown and rally will see participation of different political parties and social organisations.

After days of protests by students, political parties and various other social organisations it was relatively calm on Saturday here.

Four persons — Thirunavukkarasu, Sathish, Sabarirajan, Vasanthakumar — all in their 20s, have been accused of sexually assaulting women in Pollachi and filming the act to blackmail them for money or for physical submission for over seven years.

Students and other organisations hit the roads for the past several days demanding stringent punishment for the culprits.

The Crime Branch-Crime Investigation Department (CBCID) has taken one of the prime accused — Thirunavukkarasu — to an undisclosed location for interrogation.

The CBCID got Thirunavukkarasu’s custody on Friday. It has already written to social media organisations requesting them to remove the videos pertaining to the Pollachi abuse case.

On Friday, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court told the central government to remove all videos related to the Pollachi serial sexual assaults from the Internet.

In Chennai, a lawyer has filed a public interest litigation in the High Court for a court-monitored CBI probe. The petition was expected to come up for hearing next week.



Goa mining dependents protest near Panaji, slam government

Over 2,000 people who depend on mining in Goa on Thursday staged a protest march near Panaji, accusing the government of not taking up the issue of resuming work at the mines seriously.

The Convenor of the Goa Mining People’s Front, Puti Gaonkar, told the rally that the state government should file an affidavit in the apex court seeking amendments to the Goa, Daman and Diu Mining Leases (Abolition of Mining Concessions and Declaration as Mining Leases) Act 1987 to make it apply prospectively.

This, he said, would automatically extend the lease period of Goa’s iron ore leases — which have lapsed since 2007 — till 2037.

“The situation has reached such a pass because the government has taken the issue of mining resumption lightly… We also demand that the Assistant Solicitor General, Atmaram Nadkarni, who represented the case in the Supreme Court, should be replaced with a senior counsel because he wants the mining leases auctioned and not renewed as we want,” Gaonkar aid, after submitting a memorandum to Goa Chief Secretary Parimal Rai.

The mining issue has been hanging fire in Goa, ever since the apex court banned extraction and transportation of iron ore from 88 mining leases from March 2018, while also directing the government to re-issue mining leases.

This is the second time in less than a decade that all mining in the state has come to a standstill.

A 2012 ban was earlier lifted by the apex court in 2014, but the court imposed fresh restrictions again in 2018, after it found that the BJP-led government had not followed due procedure in the lease renewal process.

Before Goa was liberated by the Indian armed forces in 1961, mining leases in Goa were permanent concessions granted by the Portuguese colonists for exploration and exploitation.

Once India took control of the coastal state, the Goa Daman and Diu (Abolition of Concession and Declaration as Mining Leases) act, 1987 converted the same concessions into mining leases under the Mines and Minerals Development Act, 1954, making them valid for a fixed tenure of 20 years, which lapsed in 2007.

Though passed by Parliament in 1987, in the case of Goa, a late entrant into the Indian Union, the law was retrospectively brought into effect from 1961, the year Goa was liberated from the Portuguese.

Gaonkar said that the Front was now demanding that the same law be applied with prospective effect, which would stretch the tenure of the mining leases till 2037.



Mehbooba leads protest against arrest of Jamaat members

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday led a protest march against the arrest of Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) members in the state.

Mufti led the march of her party leaders and workers in Anantnag town.

“The arrest of members of Jamaat Moulvis and Imams affiliated with Ahle Hadith is a direct interference in our religious affairs. We won’t tolerate this,” said the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The JeI has been banned by the Centre and orders have been issued to seize the assets of the socio-political religious group.

The state government has, however, made it clear that orphanages and mosques run and owned by the group had been kept out of the seizure order.



Anti-terrorism protest at UN demands action against Pakistani terror sponsors, JeM chief

Members of the Indian community and international supporters have held a protest outside the UN headquarters demanding that the international organisation act against Pakistani leaders abetting terrorism and impose an arms embargo on Islamabad.

The protest on Sunday by about 400 people also included concerned citizens from the US, Bangladesh, Caribbean countries, Sri Lanka and Israel, as well as from Pakistan’s Balochistan province.

The protesters held up signs listing various terrorist attacks around the world linked to Pakistan — from Pulwama to New York’s Times Square, and from Mumbai to London, and the Pakistani military’s atrocities during Bangladesh’s War of Independence.

Their posters also listed terrorist organisations like the Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Haqqani Network, Taliban, Laskshar-e-Omar, Sipah-e-Sahaba that are based in Pakistan and operate internationally.

A memorandum from the protesters to the UN said the world body should declare Pakistan a global terrorist state and JeM leader Masood Azhar an international terrorist and impose sanctions on them.

As a member of the Security Council, China has been protecting Azhar and has vetoed efforts by other members to add him to the list of global terrorists so he would face international sanctions.

The JeM claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14 which killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel.

The memorandum also asked the UN to impose an arms embargo on Islamabad and financial and travel sanctions on Pakistani political and military leaders involved in protecting and aiding terrorist organisations.

Overseas Friends of BJP President Krishna Reddy Anugula said that they would send the memorandum to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday.



Bengal government to probe heckling of JU VC at students’ protest

The West Bengal government on Wednesday said it would probe the heckling of Jadavpur University Vice Chancellor Suranjan Das by a section of students, following which the top official has been hospitalised in a state of shock.

Das was allegedly “pushed” and “humiliated” by a section of protesting students on Tuesday and underwent an X-ray for injuries he purportedly suffered during the scuffle. His condition was stable, said the AMRI hospital.

The hospital said in a statement that Das had “some injuries in his right shoulder, chest and hip,” and would be kept under observation for one more night, since he “did not have sound sleep on Tuesday”.

“Given a history of hypertension and high blood sugar levels, his blood pressure had shot up and he was feeling unwell when he was brought to the hospital’s emergency ward on Tuesday evening,” said the statement.

State Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said on Wednesday Das was in “shock” and disclosed that he has asked for the video footage of the incident.

“It has become almost a norm in this university to start an agitation every year on even non-issues. I have found the intention is to give a taste of campus agitation to every fresher as soon as the admission season is over.

“We need to ask ourselves whether we would besmirch the reputation of one of our best educational institutes both in the state, across the country and even abroad. Why should students push a Vice Chancellor? Is this politics? I am sure the university authorities would take appropriate action after identifying the culprits from the video footage,” he said.

Meanwhile, Das has appealed to the students to stay away from agitations, and said he was ready to speak to them. “They can speak to the authorities and can always reach out to me,” he said.

However, the Vice Chancellor has made it clear that he would neither press charges nor lodge police complaints against the students.

On Tuesday, Das had become a victim of a scuffle between two groups of students, who wanted to place their demands before him as soon as he came out of his office.

The Arts Faculty Students’ Union (AFSU) was pressing for early student council election, while the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) wanted Das to apprise them of the status of a probe into a molestation case.



Business worth Rs 25,000 cr hit as traders protest against Pulwama attack; CAIT

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Monday said that business worth about Rs 25,000 crore was hit due to the “Bharat Trade Bandh” that was called to protest against the recent Pulwama terror attack.

According to CAIT, the day-long bandh saw seven crore business establishments remain closed across the country, including Delhi.

“Business of about Rs 25,000 crore was hit due to today’s ‘Bharat Trade Bandh’,” the confederation said in a statement.

“In the wake of tremendous and spontaneous voluntary response from traders across the country, the CAIT has decided to create a Special Relief Fund exclusively for the welfare of the forces,” it said.

In the worst-ever terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir since militancy erupted in 1989, a suicide bomber on Thursday rammed his SUV packed with explosives into a CRPF bus on the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Pulwama district, killing as many as 40 troopers and leaving many injured.



Not releasing ‘Total Dhamaal’ in Pakistan our way of protest; Director

Filmmaker Indra Kumar says it was his team’s decision to prevent the release of “Total Dhamaal” in Pakistan.

On Monday, the cast of the third installment of ‘Dhamaal’ franchise, announced that movie will not release in Pakistan in the wake of terror attack on CRPF jawans in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama.

Standing by the decision,Indra Kumar told IANS: “Being a part of Indian film industry, it’s my and my team’s way of protest against the heinous terror attack.

“It’s our way of supporting our nation in hard time. Why should we release our movie in a country which is attacking our people?”

“The whole team including actors Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Ajay Devgn and Riteish Deshmukh, mutually decided and came to the conclusion of abandoning the release of the film in Pakistan,” he added.

Asked if he really feels that film trade with Pakistan must stop completely, he said: “I never want the two nations to fight or have hatred against each other. I always wish for peace but now looking at the situation, looking at those young martyrs and their families, how can I talk about trade with that nation.

“People are angry and their anger is justified. I am with my countrymen and to support them… I am not releasing my film in Pakistan.”

The director also has high hopes from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Modiji is a great leader. I am sure he will find out some way,” he added.

Apart from cancelling the release of the film in Pakistan, the team of “Total Dhamaal” has donated Rs 50 lakh to the families of the jawans who lost their lives in the attack.

In the worst terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir since militancy erupted in the state in 1989, a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber on February 14 rammed his vehicle packed with explosives into a CRPF bus on the Jammu-Srinagar highway in Pulwama district, killing 40 troopers.





Punjab Budget session heats up as Akalis protest against Sidhu

Angry scenes were witnessed in the Punjab Assembly in a war of words between state cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLAs, especially Bikram Singh Majithia, which forced adjournment before the budget could be presented in the House here on Monday.

Sidhu and Majithia could be seen gesturing angrily at each other and calling each other names like “chor” (thief), “daku” (dacoit), “deshdrohi”, “badmash” (miscreant) and “chitta” (white powder drug) trader, forcing Speaker Rana K.P. Singh to adjourn the session amid Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal’s speech.

Personal attacks flew across the benches between Sidhu and Majithia. The SAD MLAs also wore black ribbons on their arms.

Speaker Rana K.P. Singh called out the Akali and BJP legislators and asked the Assembly staff to remove them from the House.

The Akali MLAs held a protest in the Assembly against the recent remarks of Sidhu on the deadly Pulwama terror attack. They demanded that the cricketer-turned-politician and Congress leader must be dismissed from the Punjab cabinet.

The protest was carried out near the Speaker’s podium even as Finance Minister Badal was reading out the annual budget for the state.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh kept sitting quietly as the heated exchanges continued between Sidhu and Majithia.

Some Ministers and Congress MLAs were found trying to pacify a visibly agitated Sidhu but he did not relent.

Earlier, the SAD-BJP legislators burnt the Pakistani flag outside the Assembly complex.

The Akalis raised slogans against Sidhu’s remarks defending Pakistan following the February 14 terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir in which 49 troopers were killed when a terrorist drove an explosives-laden SUV into the convoy.

Carrying photographs of Sidhu hugging Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, the Akali Dal legislators demanded action against Sidhu.

Sidhu, who takes every opportunity to harp on his friendship with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, a former cricketer like himself, had told the media on February: “Wherever wars are fought and such things (Pulwama-type attack) happen, dialogue also continues simultaneously.

“There is a need to find a permanent solution (to issues between India and Pakistan). Such people (terrorists) have no religion, no country and no caste. When a snake bites, its antidote is also snake poison.”

Sidhu has also justified his take on the dialogue between the two nuclear neighbours.

Though Sidhu condemned the Pulwama terror attack on the CRPF convoy, he added that the entire nation (Pakistan) could not be blamed for the actions of a handful people.

“This (attack) should be condemned by all. For a handful people, you cannot blame an entire nation. Those behind the attack must be punished,” Sidhu had said.

Sidhu on Saturday defended his comments claiming that his statement was “deliberately distorted” as the people were scared of him.



Protest shutdown against terror attack affects life in Jammu

Life here in Jammu and Kashmir was adversely affected on Friday due to a protest shutdown called against the terror strike in the valley in which 45 CRPF personnel were killed in a suicide attack.

The shutdown has been called by the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), an influential body of local traders and industrialists.

Transporters in the region and the National Conference have extended support to the shutdown appeal.

“We condemn the brutal attack and stand in solidarity with the families of those who lost their dear ones in this attack,” B. Rajesh Gupta, President of JCCI told IANS here.

“We also appeal to all sections of the society to maintain the traditional harmony and brotherhood for which Jammu has been known ever since the fires of violence spread in the valley,” he added.

All shops, business establishments and public transport remained closed in the city in response to the JCCI shutdown appeal.

Authorities have suspended mobile Internet services in the city while the speed of fixed line broadband connections has been slashed down.

Authorities made deployments in law and order sensitive areas of Jammu to prevent anti-social elements from exploiting the situation and the anger among the people.

In the worst-ever terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir since militancy erupted in 1989, a suicide bomber on Thursday rammed his SUV packed with explosives into a Central Reserve Police Force bus on the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Pulwama district, killing at least 45 troopers, injuring 38 and leaving the security established stunned.



Karnataka Assembly adjourned amid BJP protest

Karnataka Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar adjourned the House till 3 p.m. on Thursday amid protests by BJP legislators against the attack on its MLA’s residence in Hassan.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators walked towards the Speaker’s podium and raised slogans against the attack on Preetham Gowda’s residence by Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) workers in Hassan, about 180km from here.

JD-S workers had attacked Gowda’s house by pelting stones on Wednesday after he allegedly bad-mouthed its supremo H.D. Deve Gowda, who represents the district in Lok Sabha.

Hassan is Gowda clan’s home constituency.

BJP’s state unit president B.S. Yeddyurappa urged the Speaker for a thorough probe into the incident.

“We have submitted a letter to Governor Vajubhai Vala on the stone pelting issue. Our legislator (Preetham Gowda) and his family were threatened by the JD-S workers,” Yeddyurappa told the media earlier in the day.

Anti-government protests by the BJP have marred the state Budget Session, which began on February 6.



Puducherry CM continues protest outside Governor house

The protest by Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy and his five ministers outside Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi’s official residence entered second day on Thursday.

The Congress leader his cabinet colleagues spent the Wednesday night on the road outside Raj Nivas. They slept on the road on a thick sheet and a blanket.

Meanwhile, Bedi left for Chennai on Thursday morning to participate in an event. She is likely to go to Delhi from Chennai.

Narayanasamy began his protest on Wednesday, wearing a black shirt and black dhoti. He was protesting against Bedi for not permitting implementation of his government’s welfare schemes.

He was joined by his ministerial colleagues and DMK lawmakers.

Narayansamy also accused Bedi of interfering in the day-to-day activities of the government.

His protest came after Bedi hit the road two days ago and advised two-wheeler owners to wear helmets.

While Bedi wanted the helmet rule for two-wheeler riders to be implemented at one go, Narayanasamy wanted the implementation in phases.

On her part, Bedi on Wednesday evening wrote to Narayanasamy inviting him for a meeting on February 21.

Bedi, in her letter to Narayanasamy, said: “All matters you had mentioned in the letter need an examination for a considered response. Needless to say, none of the issues are pending at Raj Nivas (as being alleged). Besides, you never said in your letter that unless you get a reply by February 13, you and your colleagues shall come and sit on a dharna outside.”

“However, I invite you for a detailed discussion on your matters on February 21 at 10 a.m. Please confirm,” Bedi said.

With Narayanasamy and other ministers continuing their protest, security has been beefed up here.

Puducherry CM continues protest outside Governor house



Gujjars community protest in Meerut, block rail traffic

The ongoing agitation by the Gujjar community in Rajasthan demanding five per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions, on Wednesday found an echo in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district where protesters blocked rail tracks and disrupted traffic at the Sakoti Tanda railway station, police said.

An official told IANS that agitators from the Gujjar community had gathered at a local farmhouse earlier in the day and had taken out a procession raising anti-BJP slogans.

They then moved to Sakoti Tanda railway station blocking railway tracks and disrupting traffic.

Senior district and police officials tried but failed to get the agitating mob to vacate the tracks following which Government Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) have been deployed there to avoid any untoward incident.

Gujjar leader Atul Pradhan announced that an agitation had begun in western UP and would soon spread across all districts in the region.



SP-BSP delegation meets UP Governor to protest grounding of Akhilesh

A delegation of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and its ally Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) met Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik at the Raj Bhawan on Wednesday and submitted a memorandum against the grounding of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav at the Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport here.

The 15-member delegation, led by senior party leaders Ahmad Hasan and Rajendra Chowdhary, apprised the Governor of the development and registered their protest against what they termed was throttling of democratic and political rights.

BSP supremo Mayawati has already castigated the Yogi Adityanath government over the action and called it a conspiracy to thwart their political movement across the state.

Yadav was to take a private chartered flight to Prayagraj on Tuesday where he was to attend a students union event, which was disapproved by the Allahabad University officials.

The former Chief Minister was asked by district officials of Lucknow to go back to his home as the Allahabad administration had apprehended law and order issues if the SP leader visited the campus.

The incident had sparked protests across the state with SP workers disrupting traffic, taking to the roads and attacking government property.



Akali Dal protest for farmers a political stunt; Amarinder

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday termed the protest by the Shiromani Akali Dal along with a handful of farmers near the Assembly a “petty political stunt” undertaken with an eye on the ensuing Lok Sabha polls.

Hitting out at the Akalis and Lok Insaaf Party MLAs for walking out during the Governor’s address in the House on the first day of the budget session, the Chief Minister said the Akalis had failed to do anything for the farmers for 10 years during their own rule (2007-2017) and were now “resorting to all kinds of cheap tactics in a desperate bid to mislead them on the issue of farm debt waiver”.

He said that his government had already helped 5.83 lakh farmers with its debt relief scheme and would soon cover all 10.25 lakh small and marginal farmers in the state.

“The Akalis’ attempts to undermine these efforts would backfire on them,” Amarinder Singh said. “The Opposition walkout was a clear case of ‘badtameezi’ (rudeness) against the head of the state,” he said while interacting with media informally after the Governor’s speech.

“The problem with the Opposition was that it had no issues to raise in the House and were thus trying to divert public attention by making noise on non-issues,” he added.

Akali Dal protest for farmers a political stunt: Amarinder