Protests at Jauhar University over notice pasted on wall

Medical students at the Mohammad Ali Jauhar University in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur staged protests after a team of Uttar Pradesh Medical Education and Training officials pasted a notice on a wall in the varsity premises.

The team visited the university on Monday for mandatory inspection before issuing a No-Objection Certificate. But they found the university locked.

The notice said: “On instructions of Director-General Medical Education and Training, a five member team visited the Jauhar Institute of Medical Science, Rampur, for an inspection to release a certificate for construction of medical college. Since the campus, hospital, registrar office was closed and no staff was present, the notice is being pasted.”

Soon after the notice was pasted, a large group of students gathered at the university campus and staged the protests.

The students said that the government was “harassing students and staff and hampering academic work”.

Gulrez, a student, said: “It has been almost a month since officials are swooping down on the Jauhar University. We are here to study and no to play political games.”

The protests also continued on Tuesday.

Several complaints have been lodged against Samajwadi Party MP Mohd Azam Khan, who is also the chancellor of the university.

Khan has been charged with land grabbing, stealing books from the ‘Aaliya Madarsa’ and lion statues from the Rampur Club.



Samajwadi Party protests across Uttar Pradesh on August 9

Samajwadi Party (SP) President Akhilesh Yadav has announced state-wide protests on August 9 to highlight the deteriorating law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh.

The SP president said that protests will coincide with the Kranti Diwas which is marked annually on August 9.

The party’s national spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said: “There is a complete ‘jungle raj’ in the state. In every district, there has been a spurt in the crime graph. SP workers are being targeted in every district. BJP leaders are giving patronage to criminal elements in the state.”

The Samajwadis have demanded shifting of the Unnao’s woman rape accused MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar to a jail outside Uttar Pradesh, allocation of land to tribals of Umbha village in Sonebhadra district and entering their names in revenue records.

The list of demands also include the setting up of a fast track court for the trial of the accused in the Sonebhadra massacre case.

The state-wide protests will also demand stopping of the victimization of party MP Mohd Azam Khan and MLA Abdullah Azam.

Akhilesh Yadav said: “In the tenure of the Yogi Adityanath government, there have been 729 cases of murder, 803 of rape, 799 of loot, 60 of dacoity and 2,500 incidents of abduction across the state. ‘Jungle raj’ is prevailing in the state. If the arbitrary attitude of the BJP government is not stopped, then the state will succumb to anarchy.”

He added that all the MPs, MLAs, office-bearers and workers of the party will take out processions and stage sit-ins at the collectorate before handing over a 25-point memorandum to the district authorities.



Hold ‘black money’ protests against BJP, Mamata tells party cadre

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday urged workers of her Trinamool Congress to hold “return black money” demonstrations across the state against the BJP in a bid to counter their ongoing “cut money” protests.

Accusing the saffron party of misguiding common people regarding “cut money” and attacking Trinamool leaders on the issue, she asked party workers to organise “return black money” demonstrations against the BJP in all administrative blocks in the state.

“I had a noble intention when I cautioned my partymen to ensure that people do not get deprived of our government’s welfare schemes. Providing the benefits of such small scale welfare schemes is a duty of a poor government like ours. But now the goons of BJP are asking the Trinamool leaders to return ‘cut money’.

“Ask them to return the black money first,” Banerjee said at the Trinamool martyrs’ day rally here.

“They (the BJP) spent crores of rupees during the elections. Where did the money come from? Their party office in Delhi is like a ten-star hotel. How much property have they bought in Bengal after demonetisation? I urge the Trinamool Congress workers to hold demonstrations in all the blocks on July 26 and 27, demanding the BJP leaders return black money, people’s money,” she said.

Banerjee said her message was not just directed at her party but to all the political parties in general, as well as the state government officials, so that people get the benefit of the welfare schemes.

She also claimed the Left Front, which ruled the state for 34 years, did not return a single penny from the “cut money” they had taken during their reign.

However, the Trinamool supremo asked her party workers not to take up law in their own hands during the protests and assured them that the state administration will do its job if the BJP tries to provoke people any further agaibst Trinamool over the issue of ‘cut money’.

Banerjee also urged the Trinamool workers to increase mass contact by being in touch with people on the ground and said it will help the party to bounce back as an “ideal party”.

“Do politics by going to the houses of the tribal people and sitting in the tea stalls in your locality. Politics must be done by being around people. It cannot be done by sitting at home. Do your politics by spending nights at the villages of the scheduled caste and scheduled tribes, minorities, poor people,” she told her party workers.

Hailing the party’s booth level workers as “the main source of party’s strength” , she urged them to fight unitedly against the BJP and not to be scared or intimidated by anybody.

Responding to Banerjee’s remarks Bengal BJP Chief Dilip Ghosh said it was she who introduced the term ‘cut money’ in Bengal politics but might have never thought that her party would face so much heat due to this.

“She introduced the term cut money. It was she who first brought this in the limelight. In West Bengal everything happens with the inspiration of our Chief Minister and the cut money protests are no exceptions,” Ghosh mocked.

“These are spontaneous protests by common people against Trinamool’s malpractices. BJP has stood by the people as always. In some places we even played the role of a mediator between Trinamool leaders and the agitators and made sure that people get their money back,” he added.



Workplace Harassment; Google staff protests worldwide 

Six months after they staged a walkout against workplace harassment, Google employees are staging sit-in protest at the IT major’s offices across the world on Wednesday.

The group “Google Walkout For Real Change” announced the sit-in protest on Twitter.

“From being told to go on sick leave when you’re not sick, to having your reports taken away, we’re sick of retaliation. Six months ago, we walked out. This time, we’re sitting in. 11 a.m. tomorrow,” the group tweeted on Tuesday.

Since May 1 is Labour Day and several Google offices would remain closed, the group further tweeted: “We encourage offices to participate during their next business day!”

In November, nearly 20,000 Google employees across the world walked out following the company’s mishandling of sexual harassment allegations.

Those who organised the walkout reportedly faced action. Last week, two employees accused Google of retaliating against them for organising the walkout, reports Wired.

A Google spokesperson told TechCrunch: “We prohibit retaliation in the workplace and publicly share our very clear policy.”

“To make sure that no complaint raised goes unheard at Google, we give employees multiple channels to report concerns, including anonymously, and investigate all allegations of retaliation.”




Arunachal protests; Curfew on; Opposition boycotts all-party meet

Three days after violence erupted here over the state government’s move to grant permanent residence certificate (PRC) to six non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribes communities, curfew here continued on Monday, police said.

“We have extended the curfew till 9 a.m. on Wednesday to calm the prevailing law and order situation,” Itanagar Capital Complex Deputy Commissioner Prince Dhawan told IANS, expressing hope that the situation might soon return to normal.

Authorities on Saturday imposed an indefinite curfew in Itanagar and Naharlagun as demonstrators protesting against the government’s PRC move went on the rampage, indulging in arson and stone pelting.

One person was killed after sustaining a bullet injury in Naharlagun.

The Opposition National People’s Party (NPP), People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) and the Congress decided not to attend an all-party meeting.

“What is the point of attending the all-party meeting when the Chief Minister (Pema Khandu) refused to listen to our voice against granting PRCs to six non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribes communities in Namsai and Changlang districts,” NPP MLA Mutchu Mithi told IANS.

Accusing Khandu of indulging in “petty politics despite the volatile situation in the state”, State Congress chief Sanjoy Takam said: “How can one attend a meeting without getting any written or verbal communication?

“In fact, I learnt about the meeting only when an Officer on Special Duty to the Chief Minister rang me up at 11.15 a.m. requesting me to attend the meeting, which was slated at 11 a.m.”

“Isn’t it petty? The Chief Minister is not serious enough even in such a grave situation,” Takam said.

On Sunday, the Arunachal Pradesh government froze its decision on the controversial PRC that triggered widespread violence for a third day, leading to the torching of the Deputy Chief Minister’s house.

Chief Secretary Satya Gopal said in a statement: “Considering the present situation…, the government has decided that no further action shall be taken in respect of grant of PRC.”

Governor Brig B.D. Mishra (retd) condemned the violence.

Appealing for peace, Mishra said: “Arunachalis have always demonstrated their rationality, sagacity and maturity in their conduct under all circumstances.”

He advised the state government to take all precautionary measures to prevent further mayhem.

Four Army columns were deployed in the capital while authorities suspended internet services across the state to avoid the spread of fake news.

The protests were called on Friday evening by 18 student and civil society groups to mount pressure on the Khandu government to scrap the PRC granting decision.

Later that day, protesters set ablaze 50 vehicles and damaged over 100 vehicles.

The protestors alleged a committee led by Environment and Forest Minister Nabam Rebia had submitted its report on PRC without proper verification of facts.



US Indian community holds anti-terror protests at Pakistani, Chinese consulates

Members of the Indian community have held protests outside the Pakistani consulates in New York and Chicago to condemn the February 14 Pulwama attack that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF troopers.

In New York on Friday, the police stopped 400 protesters from approaching the consulate building and cordoned them off next to Central Park, across the avenue.

They protested peacefully for over two hours shouting “Vande Mataram” and “God Bless America” along with slogans denouncing Pakistan’s support for terrorism.

A delegation went to the consulate to handover a memorandum demanding “credible and visible” action against the perpetrators of the Pulwama carnage that was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and the 2008 Mumbai terror attack that claimed 163 lives.

Overseas Friends of BJP-USA (OFBJP) President Krishna Reddy Anugula said that the diplomats at the consulate refused to accept the memorandum, which also asked for freedom for Kulbhushan Jadav, who has been sentenced by a Pakistani military court as a spy, and for handing over JeM chief Masood Azhar and Dawood Ibrahim, who is wanted for 1993 terrorist bombings in Mumbai, to India.

On Thursday, community members held a demonstration at the Chinese consulate in Chicago against Beijing’s policy of protecting JAzhar from UN sanctions through its veto powers.

Jagdish Sewhani, the president of the American India Public Affairs Committee, and one of the organisers of the New York protest, said that his group was organising a nation-wide outreach campaign to members of Congress to sponsor legislation against Pakistan’s support for terrorism.

Members of his group and other Indians have been asked to call on their legislators or write to them seeking action against Islamabad, he said.

The Federation of Indian Associations organised a candle-light vigil in Woodbridge, Virginia, on Thursday to honour the Pulwama victims.

About 600 people, including Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac Councilwoman Nancy Drumm, attended the vigil.

Earlier in the week, OFBJP organised the screening of Bollywood film “Uri” to raise awareness of terrorism in the sub-continent. .

Across the US, Indian communities have held vigils and prayer services for the victims, including in Atlanta, Georgia; Naperville, Illinois; Sacramento, California’ and Houston, Stafford and Woodlands in Texas.

(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)





Punjab Assembly session begins amid opposition protests

The Budget session of the Punjab Assembly began on Tuesday amid protests by the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the BJP against rising farmers’ suicides and blamed the ruling Congress government of not doing enough.

The SAD lawmakers staged a walkout shortly after the Assembly commenced.

They also protested against Governor V.P. Singh Badnore, who in his opening speech, said that Punjab’s current financial crisis was due to the policies of the previous SAD-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance state government (2007-2017).

He accused the alliance of reckless spending which pushed Punjab further into a debt trap.

Later in the day, SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal marched with the families of farmers, who had committed suicide in the last two years, towards the residence of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

The protesters were, however, stopped by the Chandigarh Police.



Protests await PM Narendra Modi in Andhra Pradesh

A day ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Andhra Pradesh, protests were held at various places in the state on Saturday with protesters raising ‘Modi go back’ slogans.

Protests were staged in 13 districts of the state by leaders and workers of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Congress, Left parties, student groups and mass organisations fighting for the special category status for Andhra Pradesh.

Carrying black flags, they took out rallies and staged sit-ins at different places. Some could also be seen shirtless.

Leaders of the Left parties held protests by smashing empty pots in Vijayawada. They also threatened to disrupt Modi’s rally in Guntur on Sunday.

Addressing a meeting in the Nellore district on Saturday, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said Modi had no right to visit the state as he betrayed Andhra Pradesh by not fulfilling the promise to accord special status and other commitments made in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014.

He called upon the people to register their protests against Modi’s visit. Claiming that people boycotted BJP President Amit Shah’s visit to the Srikakulam district last week, Naidu said a similar situation awaited Modi in Guntur.

Communist Party of India (CPI) state Secretary K. Ramakrishna said Modi had no moral right to visit the state as he did not honour the commitments made in Parliament.

CPI-M leader P. Madhu said party workers would hold protests with empty pots in Guntur to foil Modi’s rally. He recalled how Modi had come to the stone laying ceremony of Amaravati, the new state capital, carrying a pot of soil and water and promised all help to the state. “He has gone back on every promise he made,” said Madhu.

State Congress chief Raghuveera Reddy said his party would organise protests with black flags across the state on Sunday. He appealed to all political parties to join the demonstrations.

Meanwhile, security has been tightened in Guntur ahead of Modi’s rally. The Special Protection Group (SPG) was busy giving final touches to the security arrangements in coordination with the state police.

State BJP chief Kanna Laxminarayana alleged that the TDP and other parties were planning to disrupt the rally. He said Modi would expose the TDP government’s corruption and counter its false propaganda by highlighting the steps taken by the Centre to help the state during the last four-and-a-half years.

This will be Modi’s first visit to Andhra Pradesh after the TDP pulled out of the BJP-led NDA last year.



Andhra CM calls for protests during Modi’s visit

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday asked members and cadres of his Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to stage protests during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state on Sunday.

Naidu, who is also the TDP President, told the cadres and party members during a teleconference calls that the protests, against the Centre’s “betrayal” to the state, should be organised on a scale that the whole country should take note of it.

Modi is scheduled to address a rally in Guntur. This will be his first visit to Andhra Pradesh after TDP snapped ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) last year.

The TDP chief, who will be holding a day-long protest in New Delhi on Monday, said protests should be organised with the spirit shown by Mahatma Gandhi.

The TDP chief alleged that Modi was coming to the state to see the destruction following the bifurcation in 2014.

“Is he coming here to see whether people are still alive?” Naidu had earlier remarked on Modi’s visit.

Naidu said there was a conspiracy to destabilise the state government.



Ahead of PM’s visit, tribals hold protests in Tripura against Citizenship Bill

Ahead Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to three northeastern states – Assam, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh – several tribal parties and NGOs on Friday held a massive demonstration in Tripura demanding the withdrawal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

The protesting groups also demanded the withdrawal of sedition charges levelled by the state police against three tribal leaders.

The several hours long demonstration took place in northern Tripura’s Manughat, 100 km north of Agartala, 10 days after a huge protest rally on the same issue in Khumulwng, 20 km north of Agartala, the headquarters of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC).

The agitation was spearheaded by the newly formed Movement Against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (MACAB), a conglomerate of several NGOs and four tribal outfits, including Tripura’s oldest tribal party Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT).

The North-East Students Organisation (NESO), which on January 8 called an 11-hour shutdown in the entire northeastern region excluding Sikkim to oppose the Citizenship Bill, was also part of the agitation.

NESO is an association of eight student and youth organisations from seven northeastern states.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) Secretary in-charge of Sikkim and the working President of the Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee, Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debburman, and Tripura Congress General Secretary and tribal leader Dinesh Debbarma also spoke at the demonstrations.

“The sit-in demonstration was peaceful and no untoward incident took place. Vehicular movement was normal in the Tripura-Assam National Highway (NH 8),” Dhalai district police chief Sudipta Das told IANS over telephone from the district headquarters.

NH 8 is the life line of the mountainous Tripura.

MACAB Convener Upendra Debbarma and INPT General Secretary Jagadhish Debbarma told the media that their agitation would be intensified if the government did not meet their two demands.

INPT President Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl told the gathering that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to grant citizenship to migrants from six non-Muslim minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, when enacted into an Act, would jeopardise the demography of the indigenous people of northeast India comprising eight states.

Upendra Debbarma, who is also the Vice Chairman of NESO, said that earlier this week a 15-member delegation of NESO met Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Meghalaya Chief Minister and National People’s Party (NPP) President Conrad Sangma, Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and leaders of several parties in Delhi and Mumbai and apprised them about the issue.

“All the leaders assured us that they would be with the northeastern parties on the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill,” Debbarma said.

INPT’s Jagadhish Debbarma said that Tripura police have registered a case with sedition charges against three senior tribal leaders, including him, for organising a protest rally on January 30 at the TTAADC headquarters in Khumulwng against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

The agitating tribal leaders also indicated that a few tribal organisations might resort to agitation on Saturday during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state.

During his visit, Modi would unveil a statue of Tripura’s late king Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya at the airport, inaugurate an extended railway line and open an academic building of the Tripura Institute of Technology run by the state government.

Elaborate security arrangements have been for the Prime Minister’s visit.




Opposition protests against removal of burqa, black dupattas in Jharkhand

Opposition parties protested in the Jharkhand Assembly on Monday against the forced removal of burqas and black dupattas worn by women during an event attended by Chief Minister Raghubar Das in Giridih district.

Jhobha Manjhi, a Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) MLA, spoke on the incident that took place on Sunday, when the House met for the day at 11 a.m.

Supporting her protest, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) MLA Pradeep Yadav said: “The Chief Minister needs to answer on this issue. This is serious.”

In reaction, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Biranchi Narayan asked: “Until the burqa is not removed, how can it be ascertained whether it is a woman or a terrorist?”

Speaking to the media later, Geeta Kodfa, a Congress MLA, said: “On one hand, the state government is launching many schemes related to the well being of women, and on the other hand, it also humiliates them. This means the scheme is only to garner women’s support.”