In poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, BJP loses 9 MLAs including 3 ministers

News Network
January 13, 2022

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Lucknow, Jan 13: Uttar Pradesh minister Dharam Singh Saini on Thursday resigned from the BJP, becoming the ninth MLA to break off ties with the saffron party just days ahead of the state assembly polls.

Earlier in the day, Dharam Singh Saini returned the security cover and residence allotted to him by the state government, which set off speculation that he was going to quit the BJP.

Dharam Singh Saini is the Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ayush, Food Security and Drug Administration.

The BJP’s Uttar Pradesh unit has witnessed a string of defections over the last few days, starting with cabinet minister Swami Prasad Maurya. At the time, Maurya had said that many more legislators would follow suit.

He said he was resigning due to "gross neglect" towards Dalits, backwards, farmers, unemployed youth and small traders. Over the following days, several other BJP MLAs Brajesh Prajapati, Roshan Lal Varma, Bhagwati Sagar, Mukesh Verma, Vinay Shakya among others, quit the party.

OBC leader Dara Singh Chauhan resigned on Wednesday from the Yogi Adityanath cabinet and appeared to be headed towards the Samajwadi Party. Chauhan said he had worked with dedication for the past five year but Dalits, the OBCs and the unemployed did not get justice from the BJP government.

Dharam Singh Saini is said to be a close aide of Maurya.

Earlier, Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief Om Prakash Rajbhar claimed that one to two ministers would quit the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet daily and this figure would go up to 18 by January 20. Rajbhar has struck an alliance with the Samajwadi Party for the 2022 assembly elections.

The Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections will be held in seven phases. Polling will be held from February 10 and the counting of votes will take place on March 10. 

Earlier, Shikohabad MLA and backward caste leader Dr Mukesh Verma has resigned from the party. "Swami Prasad Maurya is our leader. We will support whatever decision he takes. Many other leaders will join us in the coming days," Verma said.

In his letter addressed to the state BJP president, Varma alleged that the Yogi Adityanath government, in the past five years, has failed to address the problems of weaker sections, youth, farmers, Dalits and OBCs.

He said small traders and businessmen had suffered in the regime.

OBC leader Dara Singh Chauhan resigned Wednesday from the Yogi Adityanath cabinet and appeared to be headed towards the Samajwadi Party.

A day earlier, as BJP leaders brainstormed in Delhi on the UP assembly polls, Swami Prasad Maurya, also a prominent Other Backward Class leader, had quit the state cabinet.

Three other BJP MLAs announced their resignation from the party, seemingly in Maurya's support.

Yet another BJP MLA, Avtar Singh Bhadana, quit the party on Wednesday and is joining the Rashtriya Lok Dal, an SP ally.

But two Uttar Pradesh MLAs – Naresh Saini from the Congress and Hari Om Yadav from the SP – joined the BJP on Wednesday, a welcome development for the ruling party as it deals with the sudden defections from its ranks.

Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan, (both ministers), Roshan Lal Varma, Brijendra Prajapati, Bhagwati Sharan Sagar, Vinay Shakya and Avatar Singh Bhadana resigned in past two days.

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News Network
May 20,2022

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The Rajgarh district administration in Madhya Pradesh has demolished 48 houses after a few men allegedly pelted stones on a wedding procession for creating loud noise near a mosque. The demolitions were carried out in the Jirapur town of the district.

According to reports, stones were pelted on the procession of a Dalit man’s wedding near the Mataji Mohalla area, under the Jirapur police station limits of Rajgarh district, on 17 May, allegedly after members of the Muslim community took objection to music being played in front of the mosque. The altercation reportedly resulted in the injury of at least five people.

The band members, however, claimed that they had stopped the music in front of the mosque following a customary practice in the area and only played it after passing the mosque.

A case in connection to the incident was booked, naming six people initially but eight were arrested, and 21 other accused were identified with the help of CCTV footage, police said.

Demolitions 

Following the FIR, the district administration issued notices to the residents of Jirapur’s ward number 4, identifying their homes as encroachment on the government land. On Thursday, May 19, the officials demolished 18 houses and another 30 were demolished partially for extending onto the public road.

Speaking to the media, Tehsildar of the Jirapur area, A R Chiraman said: “Of the total 48 houses demolished, 18 belong to those who are accused. Another 30 are homes constructed by encroaching areas of the road leading to Mata Mandir, which is public land. They were issued notices yesterday; at least three notices have been issued in the past.”

Rajgarh district administration also carried out demolitions in the Pipaliyan Kala area under the same Jirapur police station limits where a similar attack on the wedding procession of another Dalit man was reported on 15 May.

The altercation on Sunday allegedly happened between the members of Dangi, an Other Backward Class (OBC) community, and Dalits after stones were pelted on the wedding procession of the Dalit man.

Jirapur PS in-charge, Prabhat Gaud, had told media that the Dalit family had given an appointment earlier and the accused tried to target police as well but couldn't succeed.

Prabhat Gaud said: "The groom's family had given an appointment for the marriage. Some miscreants tried to attack the wedding procession and stones were also pelted. We have registered a complaint against 22 people with names. We have also arrested five people in connection to the same."

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News Network
May 14,2022

In response to the cold-blooded killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli regime forces, the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has called for a unified command against the occupying regime.

In his remarks late on Friday, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Gaza-based resistance movement's political bureau, urged the “speedy formation” of the command to lead the struggle against Israel.

The call came two days after 51-year-old Abu Akleh was brutally murdered while covering an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.

The long-time Al Jazeera Arabic journalist, who shot to fame while covering the second Palestinian Intifada between 2000 and 2005, was accompanying a group of local journalists when she was targeted.

Haniyeh said the Palestinian liberation struggle is going through a "new stage," which demands the adoption of "incisive and strategic decisions".

He said the unified command will be tasked with directing the resistance against the apartheid regime.

Formation of the unified front is indispensable in the light of the regime's "bestiality," which manifested itself in the "assassination of the daughter of Palestine," Haniyeh said, referring to Abu Akleh.

The Hamas leader said Palestinians need to get their act together in the face of Tel Aviv's unbridled aggression, advocating unity between different Palestinian political groups.

He cited examples of Israeli aggression such as the increase in settlement construction activities across the occupied territories, assaulting Palestinian worshippers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the holy occupied city of al-Quds, the longstanding and crippling siege of Gaza, detention of thousands of Palestinians, and denying them the right to return to their homeland.

Haniyeh called on the West Bank-headquartered Palestinian Authority (PA) to end its cooperation with the regime in Tel Aviv and scrap the so-called Oslo Accords, which were signed in 1993 and marked the first time the Israeli regime and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) recognized each other.

The Oslo Accords were signed in the White House but named after Norway’s capital city, where the secret back-channel dialogue took place.

The Hamas leader urged the PA to withdraw its "recognition of Israel," stop its "security cooperation" with Tel Aviv, "and concentrate on the resistance's comprehensive plan for confronting the occupier."

Pertinently, it came on the eve of Nakba Day, (the Day of Catastrophe), when in 1948 hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcibly evicted from their homeland and Israel came into existence as an illegal and illegitimate entity.

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News Network
May 11,2022

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New Delhi, May 11: In the wake of the Supreme Court order staying the registration of FIRs, ongoing probes and coercive measures under the sedition law, all eyes will be on the fate of several high-profile cases registered under the draconian British-era law.

According to a National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, a total of 356 cases of sedition -- as defined under section 124A of the IPC -- were registered and 548 people arrested between 2015 and 2020, out of which only six were convicted.

A 21-year-old Bengaluru-based environment activist, Disha Ravi, was arrested by the Delhi Police on February 14, 2021 for allegedly creating and disseminating a "toolkit" on the farmers' protests against farm laws brought by the BJP government at the Centre.

The toolkit was tweeted by Swedish environment activist Greta Thunberg on February 3, 2021.

The Delhi Police registered an FIR against Ravi, who was working at a vegan store in Bengaluru and fighting for environment issues since her student days, under IPC sections 124A (sedition), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups).

Ravi was granted bail on February 23, 2021 by a Delhi court, which stated that "the offence of sedition cannot be invoked to minister to the wounded vanity of the governments".

Additional sessions judge Dharmender Rana said citizens are "conscience keepers" of the government in any democratic nation, and they cannot be put behind the bars simply because they choose to disagree with State policies.

In 2016, a group of students from the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University had held a poetry session to mark the third anniversary of the hanging of 2001 Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru. The Delhi Police later charged the then JNU student union president Kanhaiya Kumar, along with other students and union leaders, including Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, under section 124A and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Three Kashmiri students, who were enrolled in the RBS Engineering College, Agra under the PM Special Scholarship Scheme for the students of Jammu and Kashmir, were arrested on October 28 last year for allegedly posting a WhatsApp status praising Pakistani players after their victory against India in a T20 cricket match.

They were languishing in prison till April 26 this year even after securing bail on March 30 from the Allahabad High Court due to the non-availability of local guarantors, a high-security amount and police verification.

Some noted journalists like late Vinod Dua had to face the wrath of the draconian law for views expressed by them on social media.

Dua, in his programme on Youtube on March 30, 2020, made remarks against the government's handling of the Covid crisis, following which an FIR was registered against him by the Himachal Pradesh Police under the sedition law and other charges on a complaint by a BJP leader in Shimla.

The sedition charges were quashed by the Supreme Court which held that journalists are entitled to protection in sedition cases so long as they do not incite people to violence against the government established by law or with the intention of creating public disorder.

Kerala-based journalist Siddique Kappan was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police while he was on his way to report the rape case of a Dalit woman in Hathras on October 5, 2020.

The FIR against him claimed that he was going to Hathras with the intention "to breach the peace" as part of a "conspiracy".

The Special Task Force of Uttar Pradesh, in its charge sheet filed in April last year, charged eight people linked to the Popular Front of India, including its students' wing leader K A Rauf Sherif and Kappan, for sedition, criminal conspiracy, funding of terror activities and other offences.

Booker Prize winner writer and activist Arundhati Roy was booked under the sedition law, along with Hurriyat leader Late Syed Ali Shah Geelani and others, in 2010 for their alleged "anti-India" speech at a seminar.

Roy and others were charged under sections 124A, 153A (promoting enmity between classes), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 504 (insult intended to provoke breach of peace) and 505 (false statement, rumour circulated with intent to cause mutiny or offence against public peace.

Student leader from JNU and IIT passout Sharjeel Imam is facing charges under the sedition law for making alleged inflammatory speeches during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in 2019.

A court has framed charges against Imam, who is in judicial custody since 2020, under sections 124A, 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the IPC, and section 13 (punishment for unlawful activities) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Activities (UAPA).

As per the prosecution, Imam had allegedly made speeches at Jamia Millia Islamia on December 13, 2019, and at Aligarh Muslim University on December 16, 2019, where he threatened to cut off Assam and the rest of the northeast from India. In his defence, Imam had earlier told the court that he is not a terrorist and his prosecution is a whip of a monarch rather than a government established by law.

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