Drop false case against farmers; over 700 farmers already murdered: BJP MP Varun Gandhi taunts PM Modi in open letter

News Network
November 20, 2021

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New Delhi, Nov 20: BJP MP Varun Gandhi, who has been increasingly offering views divergent from his party, on Saturday posted online a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, listing four big demands following the centre's surprise cancellation of the controversial farm laws.

Reminding the Prime Minister that over 700 farmers would have still been alive had he taken the decision earlier, the MP demanded ₹ 1 crore compensation for those who died in the course of the year-long protest.

He also demanded that all "all politically motivated false" police cases filed against farmers must be dropped and their calls for widening the programme of guaranteed prices for farm produce known as Minimum Support Price or MSP be accepted, saying their movement wouldn''t end without it.

Mr Gandhi also raised the deaths of protesters in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri last month where a BJP minister's son and aides have been accused of running over a group of farmers, triggering violence and leaving eight people dead.

"I thank you for your large-heartedness in announcing that these three laws will be repealed. More than 700 of our farmer brothers and sisters have been martyred in this movement, as they peacefully protested in extremely difficult and hostile conditions. I believe that if this decision had been taken earlier, all these innocent lives would not have been lost," he wrote.

"All politically motivated false FIRs that have been registered as weapons of harassment against our farmers during this movement must immediately be quashed," Mr Gandhi said.

"This (farmers') movement will not end without the resolution of this demand and there will be widespread anger amongst them, which will continue to emerge in one form or the other. Therefore, it is very important for the farmers to get the statutory guarantee of MSP for their crops. The MSP should also be based on the C2+50% formula of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices," he wrote.

On Lakhimpur Kheri, he wrote, "Many leaders sitting in senior positions have given provocative statements against our agitating farmers. It is the result of such statements and the adversarial atmosphere created around the movement, that on October 3, five of our farmer brothers were crushed to death by vehicles in Lakhimpur Kheri. This heartbreaking incident is a blemish on our democracy. It is my request to you that appropriately strict action is taken against the Union Minister who has been connected to this incident, so that there is a fair enquiry."

The sharp critique for the BJP is the latest from Varun Gandhi who was dumped from his party's National Executive after calling for justice for the families of farmers killed in UP's Lakhimpur Kheri and speaking out in support of other farmers protesting the centre's new laws.

A member of the Nehru-Gandhi family that controls the opposition Congress, Varun Gandhi and his mother joined the BJP in 2004 just months before the party went out of power but are believed to have fallen out of favour with the leadership in recent years.

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News Network
November 25,2022

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on November 24 has issued revised user fee rates at Hejamadi toll gate in Udupi district after the merger of Dakshina Kannada’s Surathkal toll plaza on NH 66.

The revised use fee rate will come into effect from December 1.

The present fee for a single trip at Surathkal plaza for Light Motor Vehicles (LMV) like car, jeep, van etc is Rs 60 and Rs 40 at Hejamadi plaza. After the merger of Surathkal gate with that of Hejamadi, the toll for LMV at Hejamadi will be Rs 100. 

The present fee for return trips for LMV at Surathkal is Rs 90 and Rs 65 at Hejamadi. With the new user fee, the return trips for LMV at Hejamadi will be Rs 155. The present fee for monthly pass valid for 50 single trips for LMV at Surathkal plaza is Rs 2,050 and Rs 1,410 at Hejamadi. After the merger, fee for monthly pass valid for 50 single trips for LMV at Hejamadi will be hiked to Rs 3,460.

The buses, trucks and other heavy vehicles will also have to pay the toll of Surathkal plaza at Hejamadi after the merger. Buses that are paying Rs 6,940 and Rs 4,765 for monthly pass for 50 single trips at Surathkal and Hejamadi respectively will have to pay Rs 11,705 at Hejamadi after the merger. 

While oversized vehicles (seven or more axles) that were paying Rs 13,250 and Rs 9,100 for monthly pass for 50 single trips at Surathkal and Hejamadi respectively will have to pay Rs 22,350 after the merger at Hejamadi.

NHAI project director H S Linge Gowda, in a letter to the Deputy Commissioner of Udupi, has stated that the calculation has been done as per the National Highways Fee (determination of rates and collection) Amendment Rules, 2010 and National Highways Fee (determination of rates and collection) Amendment Rules, 2014.

“Based on the continuous request by the government of Karnataka, local public/VIP references, the competent authority has accorded approval for merger of Surathkal toll plaza with adjacent Hejamadi toll plaza. Accordingly, user fee for Surathkal toll plaza will now be charged at Hejamadi toll plaza by adding toll fee for both the stretches,” the project director said.

The NHAI has requested the Udupi district administration to provide necessary support including police protection to ensure that there will be no law and order issues at Hejamadi after the merger of Surathkal toll gate.

Referring to NHAI Chairperson’s letter to Chief Secretary of Government of Karnataka dated October 29, he said “there is a need to ensure that there will not be any disruption or stoppage to toll collection at Hejamadi toll plaza and in case there is any disruption/stoppage of toll collection, the losses on this account shall be reimbursed by State government as per State Support Agreement to NHAI.”

Toll Virodhi Horata Samithi convener Muneer Katipalla said that the indefinite day and night dharna that entered the 29th day on Friday will end only after toll collection is stopped at Surathkal.
On NHAI’s decision to collect the toll of Surathkal at Hejamadi, Katipalla said that a meeting of all like minded organisations from Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts will be held soon to discuss the future plans.

Terming it as an anti-people decision, Katipalla said “the NHAI has decided to collect exorbitant fees at Hejamadi. Is there no value for the toll collected at Surathkal in the last seven years?” he sought to know.

“MP and MLAs failed to understand the feelings and the hardship of people. People from undivided Dakshina Kannada should raise their voice. It has now been proved beyond any doubt that BJP MPs and MLAs have no experience in governance,” said Katipalla.

With the merger and revision of user fee, the exemption of toll given for private vehicles with KA 19 registration at Surathkal will no longer be valid after December 1 at Hejamadi. 

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News Network
November 26,2022

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Four-times champions Italy are not in this year's World Cup in Qatar, marking the second time in a row that the 'Azzurri' will miss the tournament. Here's what you need to know about the European Champions' failure to qualify:

How did Italy's World Cup qualification campaign unfold?

* Italy were drawn in Group C of the UEFA World Cup qualification round along with Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania.

* The pressure was high on coach Roberto Mancini and the squad as Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia four years earlier.

* They started with three consecutive wins against Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania before taking a break for the European Championships last year.

* After winning the tournament, they drew twice in a row to Bulgaria and Switzerland, before claiming a 5-0 win at home against Lithuania.

* With two games left, Italy appeared to be in pole position to secure qualification, but drew 1-1 with Switzerland to leave both teams on equal points before the last round.

* Four months after their Euro 2020 success, Italy's 0-0 draw in Northern Ireland meant Switzerland finished top of their World Cup qualifying group after a win over Bulgaria, sending Mancini's side to the playoffs.

How did the World Cup playoffs unfold for Italy?

* Italy were on course to meet Portugal in the deciding playoff tie, but they missed out on the World Cup finals after losing 1-0 at home to North Macedonia thanks to Aleksandar Trajkovski's last-gasp strike.

* North Macedonia progressed to the final, where they were beaten 2-0 by Portugal, who claimed the World Cup spot.

Why did Italy not qualify for the World Cup in 2018?

* Italy finished in second place of Group G in the qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

* They then failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after being held to a 0-0 home draw in 2017 by a defiant Sweden, who booked a place at the finals in Russia with a 1-0 aggregate win.

* The Italians, who had not missed the World Cup since the 1958 finals in Sweden, saw Andrea Barzagli, Daniele De Rossi and captain Gianluigi Buffon all declare their retirement from the national team right after the game.

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coastaldigest.com news network
November 28,2022

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Udupi, Nov 28: A professor at Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) was temporarily suspended by the institution after he referred to a Muslim student as a 'terrorist' during a class. The action against the professor came after a video of the incident, which reportedly took place a few days ago, started going viral on social media on November 28. 

In the viral video, the student is seen questioning the professor who reportedly called the former as “Kasab”, a dreaded terrorist who was captured alive and hanged for his role in 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. 

When the professor, identified as Ravindranatha, tried to defend his comments and dubbed it as a fun, the student retorted: "Being a Muslim and facing this every day is not funny".

The teacher then said that the student was like his son, the student replied, "No, if a father says like that, it's on him. It's not funny."

"Will you talk like that to your son? Will you call him a terrorist? How can you call me like that in front of so many people? This is a class, you're professional, and you're teaching. You can't call me that," the student was heard replying.

The teacher can be seen apologising to the student later in the video.

After the video went viral, MIT suspended the professor and ordered an internal inquiry.

"We condemn such kind of incidents as we are an institute that believes in sarwa dharma (equal respect to all religions) and vasudhaiva kutumbkam (one world, one family). Appropriate action is being taken on this issue and we are doing the needful. Counselling is being given to the student, and the professor is kept under suspension until the probe is completed," SP Kar, Director of Public Relations, Manipal University, is quoted as saying.  

"We don't know right now because the incident took place during one of his normal sessions and it is challenging to trace the dialogue that led to this issue. Therefore, we have taken suo motu action. The student is really anxious because nobody actually expected this. And we have no idea who recorded the video, etc.

"We were ensuring that the institution should run efficiently. Only the concerned professor may provide particular answers because the investigation is ongoing," said SP Kar.

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