Kamal Rani, minister in Yogi Adityanath led UP cabinet, dies of covid-19

Agencies
August 2, 2020

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Lucknow, Aug 2: Uttar Pradesh's cabinet minister for Technical Education Kamal Rani Varun succumbed to COVID-19 on Sunday at the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences.

Kamal Rani is the first minister in Uttar Pradesh to die after contracting coronavirus. She was 62.

On 18 July, the minister tested positive for coronavirus and was admitted to the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Hospital.

She was later shifted to the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has expressed grief over the minister's death.

In a condolence message issued on Sunday, Adityanath said, "Kamal Rani Varun died on Sunday at around 9.30 am. She was an experienced and capable leader. She discharged her responsibilities with competence. She was a dedicated public representative, who was always working for the welfare of deprived and oppressed sections of the society."

Kamal Rani was the MLA from Ghatampur in Kanpur. She was also twice a Member of Parliament in the Lok Sabha.

Meanwhile, Adityanath has cancelled his visit to Ayodhya scheduled for the day, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said on Sunday.

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News Network
September 12,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 12: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday "expressed shock and anguish" over the passing away of social activist and former Haryana MLA Swami Agnivesh and conveyed his condolences to his followers.

Terming him a "leading social activist and reformer," Singh said that Swami Agnivesh had made "immense contribution in public life while working for bonded labourers and fostering inter-religious harmony in the country."

The former prime minister said that with the demise of Agnivesh, a former Haryana MLA the nation has lost "a crusader of the liberation of bonded labourers."

Earlier, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, among others had also expressed grief over Swami Agnivesh's demise.

The social activist was associated with Arya Samaj and had led a campaign against bonded labour.

Swami Agnivesh passed away on Friday at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences in Delhi. He was suffering from liver cirrhosis and was critically ill.

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News Network
September 17,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 17: Opposition leaders met President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday and raised questions about the role of the police during the February riots, besides expressing their lack of confidence in the probe of the incident.

In a joint memorandum, the leaders raised their concerns over the probe into the riots being conducted by the Delhi Police.

The Delhi Police has set up Special Investigation Teams (SIT) and its Special Cell is also probing the aspect of conspiracy behind the Delhi riots in which 53 people lost their lives.

"There are, however, serious questions about the role played by the Delhi Police during the violence and also the manner in which the police is harassing and attempting to falsely implicate activists and young people who took part in the anti CAA/NRC/NPR movements as the perpetrators of violence.

"Such a manufactured conspiracy theory has now begun to falsely implicate political leaders," it said.

The memorandum also criticised the police for the reference made to CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury citing disclosure statements by the accused.

"This is a disturbing trend that raises serious questions over the manner of such investigations," the leaders said.

They also alleged that there are several publicly documented accounts and videos of police being "complicit in the violence, directing mobs pelting stones or looking the other way when mobs were indulging in violence".

"During the violence, a disturbing video emerged showing uniformed policemen assaulting young men lying injured on the road and forcing them to sing the national anthem while repeatedly beating them with lathis.

"One of the men, Faizan, succumbed to his injuries a few days later," the memorandum said highlighting other such instances, including one in which they alleged the "DCP stood quietly next to a BJP leader who was instigating violence against the protestors, warning that if they did not vacate the road, he would do it himself".

"Despite several complaints being filed alleging involvement of senior police officials in the violence, including a DCP, additional commissioner and SHO, it appears no urgency has been accorded to identifying the policemen involved in the violence and ensuring that they are brought to book," it said.

It also pointed out that while the police was "silent" on the alleged hate speech of BJP leaders, and turned a blind eye towards the role of its own personnel during the violence, the probe appeared to be pursuing a line of inquiry "criminalising the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)" and portraying them as a conspiracy which resulted in the riots in Delhi.

"The entire investigation appears to be aimed at arriving at a pre-meditated theory about a conspiracy propounded by the Home Minister in Lok Sabha in March 2020, before any investigation had even begun into the riots," it said.

The memorandum also said that the ongoing investigation by the Delhi police did not inspire confidence as there were serious questions about the "impartiality" of the probe.

"A credible and unbiased probe is crucial to restore public trust in the law and order machinery of the state.

The investigation cannot be allowed to become a fishing and roving expedition aimed at causing a chilling effect on dissent and protest in the country.

"We, therefore, urge you to call upon Government of India to institute an inquiry into this investigation under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, headed by sitting/retired judge(s)," the memorandum said.

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Agencies
September 17,2020

New Delhi, Sept 17: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has informed the Supreme Court that if it is keen to begin an exercise to regulate media, then it should be the digital media instead of mainstream media, as it has wider viewership and also has the potential to turn viral.

The Ministry in an affidavit in the Supreme Court said while in a mainstream media (whether electronic or print), the publication or telecast is a one-time act, the digital media has faster reach to a wider range of readership and has the potential to become viral because of several electronic applications like WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook.

"Considering the serious impact and the potential, it is desirable that if this Court decides to undertake the exercise, it should first be undertaken with regard to digital media as there already exist sufficient framework and judicial pronouncements with regard to electronic media and print media," said the affidavit filed in connection with the Sudarshan TV case.

"The media includes mainstream electronic media, mainstream print media as well as a parallel media namely digital print media and digital web-based news portal and YouTube channels as well as 'Over The Top' platforms (OTTs)," said the Ministry in an affidavit.

A bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, K.M. Joseph and Indu Malhotra has stayed the broadcast of Sudarshan TV programme UPSC Jihad, until further orders.

The apex court has also indicated the setting up of a five-member committee, including people of commendable stature without having any politically divisive orientation, to provide standards for electronic media.

On this aspect, the Ministry in the affidavit said the present petition is concerned with balancing between the journalist's freedom and responsible journalism, which is a field already occupied either by the statutory provisions made by Parliament or by the judgments of the Supreme Court.

"...In view of the issue having already received attention of the Parliament, as well as, of this Court, the present petition be confined to only one channel namely Sudarshan T.V. and this Court may not undertake the exercise of laying down any further guidelines with or without appointment of an Amicus or a Committee of persons as Amicus," said the affidavit.

The top court will continue hearing the matter on Thursday.

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