Yogi govt plans withdrawing criminal cases against ministers and BJP MLAs

News Network
August 11, 2022

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Lucknow, Aug 11: Apparently stung by conviction of one of its ministers and issuance of NBW against another, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is contemplating withdrawal of criminal cases against the ministers and ruling party legislators.

According to the sources, the process of withdrawal of criminal cases could soon be initiated after consultation with the law department. ''Only politically motivated cases will be withdrawn... serious cases will not be withdrawn... many of the cases against the ministers and party legislators were lodged during the governments of the opposition parties,'' said a senior BJP leader was quoted as saying by local news papers.

The leader claimed that a majority of cases were ''politically motivated'' and there was nothing wrong in withdrawing them.

Of the 52 ministers in the UP cabinet, as many as 22 had criminal cases pending against them. A majority of them faced criminal cases in which they could get five-year prison terms if convicted. More than half of the 403 MLAs in the state assembly faced criminal cases. The ministers who faced criminal cases included deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, Yogendra Upadhyaya, Dharmpal Singh Nand Gopal Nandy and some others.

The state government had faced attacks from the opposition parties over the conviction of minister for micro, small and medium enterprises Rakesh Sachan under Arms Act by a Kanpur court and the issuance of NBW against minister and BJP's alliance partner Nishad Party's president Sanjay Nishad.

The SP and the Congress demanded immediate sacking of the ministers. 

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News Network
September 20,2022

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Srinagar, Sept 20: A viral video clip of Muslim students being forced to sing Hindu hymns in government-run educational institutes in has triggered a controversy in Muslim-majority Kashmir valley. 

In a 1.45-minute video clip from a school in south Kashmir, students were seen singing ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’ in classes as part of the preparation for the upcoming Gandhi Jayanti.

First to react to the video was former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti, who termed the incident as the “real Hindutva agenda of the Government of India.”

“Jailing religious scholars, shutting down Jama Masjid and directing school kids here to sing Hindu hymns exposes the real Hindutva agenda of GOI (Government of India) in Kashmir. Refusing these rabid dictates invites Public Safety Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). It is the cost that we are paying for this so-called ‘Badalta J&K’,” she tweeted.

While sharing the video on her Twitter handle, Mufti said: “India is a democracy and every community lives with rights. The Constitution allows all communities to follow their religion. This precisely was the reason that J&K, despite being a Muslim majority, decided to be part of India and not Pakistan in 1947. Our religion too is a target now. Kashmir is being made a laboratory of a rabid Hindutva agenda.”

Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU) Jammu and Kashmir, a representative amalgam of religious social and educational organizations, while strongly objecting to the enforcement of singing Hindu hymns in schools, said: “This matter is a cause of great concern and an attempt to undermine our religious identity.”

“Protection of our religion and Islamic identity is as Muslims our fundamental religious responsibility; and deliberate interference in this by the government, education department or any other agency will neither be accepted nor tolerated,” the MMU spokesperson said in a statement.

“It is becoming clear that there seems to be a deliberate plan to push our young generation through state-run educational institutions towards apostasy, to wean them away from Islamic beliefs and identity, to speed their so-called ‘integration’, with the Hindutva idea of India. This is a very serious matter,” it added.

However, the reaction of the National Conference, led by Omar Abdullah, over the controversy was muted. Neither Omar, not any of the senior NC leaders issued any statement on the issue.

Additional spokesperson of the NC, Imran Nabi Dar, in a tweet said, “Somewhere in South Kashmir, these children are being MADE to sing Hindu devotional songs. Have our education institutions been turned into a political tool? The video is self-explanatory.”

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News Network
September 21,2022

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Bengaluru, Sept 21: Amidst massive corruption allegations against Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai-led Karnataka BJP government, posters with CM’s face on a QR code titled ‘PayCM’ in a few places in Bengaluru drew attention today. 

Interestingly, scanning the QR code will take users to the ‘40 per cent Sarkar’ website launched by the Congress recently.

Last week, controversial billboards targeting Bommai were seen in Hyderabad. Bommai said it was a “conspiracy” and that it could “spoil” ties between Karnataka and Telangana. 

The ‘40 per cent commission’ tagline has got on like a house on fire, putting the BJP government on the back-foot. The figure is an average of all the cuts that the Karnataka State Contractors Association said their members have to pay to officials, elected representatives and ministers. The association wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about this in July last year. 

Congress, which hopes to connect with voters with its campaign, has come up with a website - www.40percentsarkara.com - and a helpline 8447704040 that citizens can use to narrate their experience with corruption. Congress said details of citizens will be kept confidential.

BJP hits back

Meanwhile, the saffron party hit back at the Congress asking them to post a QR code with Rahul Gandhi's photo to beg for the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' alongside an image of Congress workers threatening a vegetable seller in Kollam a few days ago over donations for the party.
 
"A case of Congress workers robbing a vegetable seller in Kerala's Kollam for the Bharat Jodo Yatra came to light. Congressmen, can't you post Rahul Gandhi's photo, create a QR code and beg for the yatra?," the Karnataka BJP tweeted.

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News Network
September 22,2022

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New Delhi, Sept 22: After a marathon hearing over a period of 10 days, the Supreme Court today reserved its judgment on a batch of petitions challenging the Karnataka High Court's judgment which upheld the ban on wearing hijab by Muslim students in educational institutions.

A bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia heard Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, Karnataka Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi and Addl Solicitor General KM Nataraj for the State. Senior Advocates R Venkataramani, Dama Seshadri Naidu and V Mohana appeared for college teachers. The Petitioners' side had concluded its arguments on Tuesday.

Making rejoinder submissions in the matter today, Senior Advocates Dushyant Dave and Huzefa Ahmadi today submitted that the arguments of Solicitor General regarding involvement of Popular Front of India are wholly irrelevant and are made to cause prejudice. They argued that no material has been shown on record regarding this.

The Petitioners argued that unlike triple talaq and cow sacrifice, Hijab is mentioned in Quran and it is the farz of Muslim women to retain the same. Further, it was contended that in absence of State showing that hijab affects the fundamental rights of others, any restriction on wearing the same affects the freedom of conscience and "behavioural privacy" of Muslim women. It also hampers their education prospects, it was argued.

Allegations about PFI conspiracy false: Dave

The Solicitor General had alleged that till the year 2021, no girl student was wearing any hijab. However, an agitation was started by the Popular Front of India to create 'social unrest' and that the students were made part of this conspiracy.

Dave said he "regrets" such allegations have been imputed sans any pleadings in that regard.

He took the bench through the impugned circular of the Karnataka government, to point out that there is no mention of any PFI activity and rather, the circular cites observance of religious practices as a "hindrance" to unity and equality.

Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi also submitted that argument of PFI was not raised before High Court. "They can't rely on documents not on record. It is an argument introduced to create a prejudice." 

Senior Advocate Devadatt Kamat said that though State made a "grandiose statement" that till 2021 nobody wore hijab, there is no pleading to that context.

Justice Gupta agreed that in one of the writ petitions, there is a mention that the Petitioner was wearing hijab. "And there is no counter-affidavit controverting this fact," Kamat added.

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