Shrishti Goswami, a 20-year-old girl becomes Chief Minister for a day

News Network
January 24, 2021

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What appears like a replica of a Bollywood film ‘Nayak’ in real life, a 20-year-old girl from Uttarakhand was made the chief minister of the state for one day. She is also the state’s first woman chief minister.

Hailing from Haridwar, Shrishti Goswami was made CM of the state to mark the National Girl Child Day on January 24.

Goswami, a student of B.Sc agriculture at a Roorkee-based institution, was chosen for the post after she was elected as the CM of ‘Bal Vidhan Sabha’ (Children’s State Assembly) in May 2018, an event organised by the state commission for protection of child rights and to help children understand the democratic system of the country.

As the CM of the state, Goswami is set to review the development work carried out in Uttarakhand, according to reports. Officers of 12 department would give five-minute presentations to her on their respective departmental plans and progress.

“I wholeheartedly thank CM Trivendra Singh Rawat for allowing me to become CM of Uttarakhand for one day. On January 24, the National Girl Child Day, officials from various departments will make five-minute-long presentations before me. I will give them suggestions, particularly on the issues related to girl-child safety,” Goswami said.

Earlier, Goswami represented India at the Girls International Leadership summit held in Thailand in 2019. She also said that she would want to give her inputs to the government on the agriculture sector in her stint as CM.

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Agencies
February 24,2021

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New Delhi, Feb 24: Shantanu Muluk, who is an accused in the 'Toolkit' conspiracy case related to the farmers' protest, has asserted that he merely created the document with information on the agitation, which was then edited by others without his knowledge.

Muluk, along with climate activist Disha Ravi and Nikita Jacob are facing charges of conspiracy and sedition in the case related to the farmers' protest. The police said that the 'Toolkit' was a sinister design to defame India and cause violence.

"He merely created a document containing information about the protest and it was then edited by others without the knowledge or involvement," the bail petition filed by him on Tuesday stated, adding that he did not access the document after January 20.

Muluk asserted that he helped collate information about the site of farmers' protests and formulate it in the form of a map for easy reference. "The toolkit clearly shows that there is absolutely no connection with their social media support for the farmers protests, and with any violence whatsoever."

There is absolutely nothing in the "Toolkit' that advises doing anything unlawful, he said, adding that all it talks about is social media and offline peaceful protests and contacting elected representatives.

He further emphasized that there was nothing objectionable about the content included by him in the document and had no control over the document as others were also permitted to edit the same.

He said that he has never had any contact with any person outside India in relation to the Toolkit, while clarifying the allegation put forth by the police on his links with the Canada-based Khalistani organisations 'Poetic Justice Foundation' and Sikhs for Justice.

"That there may be differing views on 'internationalising' a protest, but the same is certainly not illegal. Applicant as a climate activist perforce campaigns with activists internationally. Simply talking to persons from outside India cannot be criminalised," the petition said.

He further claimed to not know about the co-founder of Poetic Justice Foundation MO Dhaliwal and stated in the bail plea that nothing objectionable was said in the zoom call on January 11, of which they both were part of.

"There were some 70 odd persons on the call of whom the applicant did not know anybody apart from his colleague Nikita Jacob. Some people spoke there but nobody said anything that was divisive on the Zoom Call so the applicant had no reason to suspect anyone or anything," Muluk emphasized.

Fearing arrest, Muluk moved the Patiala House Court in Delhi seeking anticipatory bail on Tuesday, days before the end of ten-day transit remand granted to him by the Bombay High Court on February 16. The court will hear the arguments on this bail plea on Thursday.

Muluk and Jacob had joined the investigation at Delhi Police's Cyber Cell office in Dwarka on February 22, and were later confronted with Disha Ravi.

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Agencies
February 22,2021

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New Delhi, Feb 22: As petrol and diesel prices soar to record high levels, and petrol nearing the Rs 100 mark across metro cities, around 51 per cent Indians are cutting on their other expenses to manage their spending on fuel prices, showed a survey by Local Circles.

Around 21 per cent of the respondents to the survey said that they are "cutting spending on essentials and it is painful" for them. Another 14 per cent are dipping into savings to pay for it.

The survey showed that around 43 per cent of respondents said that their monthly petrol or diesel bills were lower due to limited commute or work from home among other factors. Another 2 per cent reported no spending on the fuels.

On the question of what the respondents want their state governments to do for lowering the fuel prices, 32 per cent said that the government should levy an absolute value of the value added tax (VAT) instead of a percentage of the base price, and 47 per cent said the rate of VAT should be reduced.

There were, however, 8 per cent of consumers who said that the current VAT model is "fine".

The poll showed that 79 per cent of the citizens want their state governments to take action against rising petrol and diesel prices, either by lowering the VAT or levying an absolute value of the tax. Levy of an absolute VAT instead of a percentage VAT on the base price can help keep the prices relatively lower even if base price of petrol and diesel rises in the coming months.

The survey by LocalCircles to understand how Indians are coping with the skyrocketing rise of petrol and diesel prices in the last 12 months received more than 22,000 responses from citizens located in more than 291 districts of the country.

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Agencies
February 27,2021

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Washington, Feb 27: As many as 140 Democratic lawmakers have reintroduced a legislation in the US Congress to prevent future Muslim bans and prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion.

The Muslim travel ban, introduced by former US President Donald Trump, targeted several Muslim-majority nations and restricted the entry of people from Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Venezuela. President Joe Biden ended the Muslim ban on his day one in the office last month.

In the House of Representatives, the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act was reintroduced on Friday by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Judy Chu, while in the Senate it was done by Senator Chris Coons.

Indian-American lawmakers Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal and Raja Krishnamoorthi are among those who are supporting the bill.

The legislation strengthens the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion, and restores the separation of powers by limiting overly broad executive authority to issue future travel bans.

When the Trump Administration issued its xenophobic Muslim ban, it was immediately apparent that it was unconstitutional, discriminatory, and morally reprehensible, said Nadler.

I am grateful that President Biden took bold action on day one to repeal this ban and reunite families, but we cannot risk the possibility of any future President reinstating this heinous policy, he said.

The Muslim ban was a hateful stain on the United States. Inspired only by bigotry and not any genuine national security concerns, the ban served only to separate families while stoking bigotry, xenophobia, and Islamophobia, said Congresswoman Judy Chu.

However, we cannot risk letting prejudice become policy again. That is why I am once again introducing the NO BAN Act to update our laws. By requiring actual evidence of a threat before there can be any such broad based bans like this, the NO BAN Act ensures that future presidents will not be able to ban people solely because of their religion, she said.

Senator Coons said, we have turned the page on the tragic Muslim ban, but now we must write the next chapter one in which no president can act through fear and prejudice to discriminate against a community of faith.

The Muslim ban senselessly upended lives and cut off thousands of Americans from their loved ones. Only through an act of Congress can we ensure that such a discriminatory and overreaching action by a president never happens again. The NO BAN Act reasserts not only the role of Congress under our system of checks and balances, but also the proud American legacy of welcoming immigrants and refugees, he said.

The Muslim ban is a stain on our nation's history a direct violation of our basic principles of equality under the law and religious freedom, said Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

Thankfully, President Biden ended this hateful ban on day one of his presidency. But we must ensure that no president can ever ban a group of people from this country based solely on their religion or nationality.

"We must ensure that mothers will not be separated from their children, that brothers and sisters will not be torn apart and that people around the world have a shot at the American Dream. I'm proud to work with my colleagues to place the Muslim ban in the dustbin of history where it belongs, Omar said.

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