TMC accuses Modi govt of 'federal terrorism' as it stops Australian diplomat from meeting Bengal ministers

Agencies
June 19, 2024

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New Delhi: After the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led union government did not allow the Australian Deputy High Commissioner to meet three West Bengal ministers during his proposed visit to the state, the Trinamool Congress on Wednesday alleged 'federal and fiscal terrorism' on the state as people had defeated the BJP in the state.

Australian Deputy High Commissioner Nicholas McCaffrey was to visit Kolkata and Sunderbans between June 18 and 21. During this visit, he wanted to meet Commerce Minister Shashi Panja, Information Technology and Electronics Minister Babul Supriyo and Agriculture Minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay.

However, Trinamool Congress said, the Oceania Division of the MEA wrote to the High Commission saying that they do "not recommend" meetings as requested by the Australian side with the ministers.

At the same time, the Oceania Division had "no objection from political angle" in the diplomat meeting BJP MPs Sukanta Majumdar and Dilip Ghosh and Trinamool Congress MPs Derek O'Brien and Jawahar Sircar.

Trinamool Congress sources said the Deputy High Commissioner had not come to Bengal as scheduled and their MPs would not have met him when the ministers were not allowed.

The Australian side had requested for meetings to discuss opportunities for collaboration against the backdrop of India-Australia trade discussions and explore areas of economic interest in West Bengal.

Government sources said that they have allowed the Australian diplomat to meet officials at appropriate level based on the principle of reciprocity. They said the Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Australia is not allowed to meet Australian ministers.

When contacted, an Australian High Commission spokesperson said, "Australia and India are close friends, with strong strategic, economic and community ties. Australian diplomats travel regularly across India to continue strengthening the political, business, cultural and sporting linkages between our two countries. We don’t comment on the specific details of programs when our officials travel."

Attempt to 'spite Bengal'

Setting stage for another round of confrontation, Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha Deputy Leader Sagarika Ghose said the union government's action was 'completely autocratic' and an attempt to 'spite Bengal'. She said they would strongly raise this 'serious issue', which he described as 'fiscal terrorism', in Parliament after discussing it with I.N.D.I.A. allies.

Addressing a press conference here, Ghose and another MP Saket Gokhale claimed that the federal structure of the state is being destroyed.

"The representatives of the states who want to go abroad are being stopped and the way they are doing this in such a dirty, uncivilised manner is very shameful," Ghose said.

Gokhale described the development as "federal terrorism" while alleging that several diplomats have claimed that they were informally told by the union government that they could get clearance for investments only if they choose Gujarat. 

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coastaldigest.com news network
July 11,2024

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Mangaluru: Two athletes from Mangaluru are gearing up to represent India at the Paris Olympics starting on July 26. Poovamma MR, a seasoned member of the Indian women’s 4x400m relay team, and Mijo Chacko Kurian, selected for the men’s 4x400m relay team, are poised to showcase their talent on the international stage.

Poovamma MR had a notable moment recently, marking her third interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reflecting on her journey, she shared with the Prime Minister that she was just 18 when she served as a reserve member for the 2008 Olympics and was part of the team again in 2016. 

Determined to break a longstanding barrier, she mentioned that the team hadn't reached the finals since 2002, but this time, they aim to create a national record and secure a spot in the finals. The Prime Minister commended her confidence and dedication.

“This was my third interaction with the PM. I met him in 2014 and 2018. Earlier, we showed him our medals, and he congratulated us. This time, he asked us questions about our experiences and aspirations. It felt wonderful,” Poovamma remarked. Currently training in Patiala, she is set to depart for a 20-day training camp in Poland before heading to Paris.

In contrast, Mijo Chacko Kurian is making his Olympic debut. His journey began in class XII when he switched from cricket to athletics upon seeing runners at the NMPT stadium while Mangala Stadium was under renovation. 

Living nearby, he approached the coach and joined the training sessions. Despite initial struggles, he balanced his studies in engineering with his growing passion for athletics. His dedication paid off, leading him to leave college after two-and-a-half years to focus fully on his athletic career. Now a junior warrant officer with the Indian Air Force, Mijo is ready to make his mark in Paris.

As these athletes prepare for their Olympic journey, their stories of perseverance and dedication inspire many back home, highlighting the vibrant sporting spirit of Mangaluru.

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News Network
July 7,2024

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At least five journalists have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on different places across the Gaza Strip over the last 24 hours. 

The Gaza media office said Saturday that the regime's forces killed three journalists in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the center of the territory.

Two of those who were killed in the camp were from the Palestine Media Agency. The other journalist was from the Islamic University Radio in Gaza.

Two more journalists were also killed in separate attacks in Gaza City, said the media office.

The latest deaths take the number of journalists killed in the besieged Palestinian territory since October to 158.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Israel’s military campaign on the Gaza Strip has become "the bloodiest for journalists" since the committee began documenting journalist killings worldwide in 1992.

The New York-based NGO said that media workers are being killed in the regime’s bombardment of the Palestinian territory at a rate with no parallel in modern history.

The committee put the number of media workers killed as of July 5 at 108 since the war began, also making it the deadliest period since the group began gathering data in 1992.

UN experts have previously warned about “the extraordinarily high numbers of journalists and media workers who have been killed, attacked, injured and detained in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” 

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News Network
July 15,2024

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The Karnataka Congress on Monday junked reports that the State Road Transport Corporation would be hiking bus fares. The party on X noted that transport minister has not placed any such proposals before the government.

The party's account further noted that BJP leaders should 'stop spreading lies' and rather answer about the increase in auto part prices, fuel prices, and train fares in the last ten years.

Karnataka Congress, in the post, continued that people should be allowed to answer about the burden on state governments due to the central government's price hike policy.

BJP leaders like Tejasvi Surya took potshots at the Congress government over news of the alleged fare hike, attributing it to the party's 'Khatakhat Model of Governance.'

KSRTC chairperson, S R Srinivas, however said on Sunday that the body has submitted a proposal to the government to hike the fare by 15 to 20 per cent.

"We had a board meeting two days ago. We have proposed a hike of 15 per cent to 20 per cent. The rest is up to the discretion of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. If KSRTC is to survive, fare hike is inevitable," he said.

The chairperson also noted that fuel and auto parts have seen prices go up substantially, but there has been no increase in bus fares since 2019.

"The salary revision of the KSRTC employees has not been done since 2020. Hence, increasing the ticket price is necessary," Srinivas added.

As per the chairperson, the corporation has suffered a loss of Rs 295 crore in the last three months.

To a question on whether the hike would burden male passengers since women are allowed to travel free of cost under the 'Shakti' scheme, Srinivas said there is no question of putting burden only on men. He noted that the state government continues to bear the expenses for women travelling in buses.

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