PM Modi fulfilled Vallabhai Patel, Atal Behari Vajpayee’s dream: Goa CM Pramod Sawant


PANAJI: Efforts made by Deendayal Upadhyay, Vallabhbhai Patel, Atal Behari Vajyapee to fulfil the “Ek vidhan, Ek nishan, Ek pradhan” – one country, one constitution, one flag, one head – slogan have now come to fruition during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reign, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Thursday.

“There should be no issue in saying that the attempts of Deendayal Upadhyay, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Atal Bihari Vajyapee to fulfil ‘ek vidhan, ek nishan and ek pradhan’ have now been fulfilled,” Sawant said.

The slogan of “Ek desh, ek Vidhan, ek nishan and ek pradhan” – one country, one constitution, one flag, one head – was coined by the BJP ideologue Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee who died in 1953 in a Kashmir jail.

“In this country, if we have ever had ‘ek vidhan, ek nishan and ek pradhan’, it is on August 5, 2019, we have never had this privilege,” Sawant also said, while congratulating Modi for the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A.

“Since 2014, we have a Prime Minister who has given us a better present, and a future in the form of Narendra Modi. The country has achieved its rightful place in the world under his leadership. As a result of this, we have seen that he was once again elected with a full majority,” he said.

“And to pay back that faith, he has abrogated Article 370 and 35A, and for the first time India has received complete Independence. Kashmir has been fully integrated with India now. With the passing of the Triple Talak Bill, he has fulfilled and ensured that everyone has their rights,” Sawant also said.

No compromise on corruption, communalism: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on Independence Day


Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday asserted that there would be no compromise on “crime, corruption and communalism” under his rule, which has been characterized by “nyay ke saath vikas” (development with justice) and “sampradayik sauhardra” (communal harmony).

In his hour-long address at Gandhi Maidan here on the occasion of Independence Day, Kumar said a new system of policing was being introduced in the state for effective maintenance of law and order.

“We are never going to compromise on crime, corruption and communalism. ‘Nyay ke saath vikas and sampradayik sauhardra’ have been and will always remain our priority.

“From today, we have introduced a new system of policing wherein maintenance of law and order and investigation shall stand separated so that personnel engaged in either are not distracted by other demands of duty,” Kumar said after unfurling the tricolour.

The chief minister also inspected the tableaux depicting the various schemes launched and the measures taken during his 14-year-long rule in the state.

“Our crackdown on corruption will continue. Bribery, amassing of wealth disproportionate to assets and through misuse of public office will be severely dealt with. None of those who are involved in earning money through illegal and immoral means will be spared,” the chief minister said.

Kumar pointed out that a Public Service Grievances Redressal Act is in place which guarantees resolution of complaints in a transparent manner and a mechanism has been devised for deciding service-related issues of government servants in a time-bound manner.

“People must be made aware that ill-gotten wealth may bring momentary pleasure, but its long-term impact is perilous. We must always keep in mind the words of Mahatma Gandhi that we must consume only as much as we need, giving up greed in any form,” he maintained.

Recalling that he had ordered a complete ban on sale and consumption of alcohol three years ago, in line with the demand of women in the state, Kumar said it had evoked enthusiasm, with people forming a massive human chain on the theme of prohibition, though “many who think it is their right to drink, seem to be unhappy over this move.”

People must realize that consumption of alcohol cannot be a matter of rights, he asserted.

“I would also like to draw the attention of youth towards a report of World Health Organization which has done a study on the ill effects of consuming liquor,” he added.

The CM also spoke at length about the measures taken by his government to improve education scenario in the state, including the proposed launch of “Unnayan Bihar” programme next month which aims to emulate across the state a successful e-learning experiment carried out in Banka district.

He said that his government was committed to providing people with better health care facilities and that the expansion and upgrading of premier hospitals at Patna, Muzaffarpur and Gaya have been approved.

Kumar mentioned that his government was taking steps to boost agriculture, including the setting up of a separate power feeder for farmers.

He lamented that the effects of climate change are being felt in Bihar, where there has been a decline in average rainfall over the years, while untimely showers have caused flash floods.

“We are doing our bit to reverse the damage. Our Jal-Jeevan-Hariyali drive, launched recently, is a step in this direction”, he added.

The CM, after attending the Independence Day ceremony, visited the Rajdhani Vatika adventure park in the city where he tied a thread around a tree in presence of cabinet colleagues, including his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi.

The state government is observing the festival of “Rakshabandhan”, which falls on this date, as “Vriksh Suraksha Diwas” (Day for protection of trees).

Eid-el-Kabir: Buhari urges Muslims to avoid violent extremism


The President said extremism is giving Islam a wrong name. 

He said this on Saturday, August 10, 2019, while felicitating with muslims.

He said, “Islam is a religion of peace and we should avoid violent extremist ideas that give Islam a wrong name because our conduct leaves more lasting impressions than what we say by word of mouth.

“Violent extremism is the greatest challenge facing Islam today and the only way we can neutralise its evil influence is to distance ourselves from the activities and teachings of those who preach indiscriminate violence against innocent people. This flies in the face of the teachings of Islam.”

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, Buhari also advised parents to “protect their children from the deadly exposure to violent extremists who manipulate and exploit those children for their own evil agenda.’’

He also said that the extreme idea of Boko Haram became a major force because Muslim societies failed to act on time to stop the style of preaching by extremists.

He said, “Boko Haram became a deadly force and a major security scourge because Muslim societies were indifferent from the beginning to the activities of extremist preachers who manipulate innocent and gullible followers.”

He, however, assured Nigerians that his administration was working hard to bring an end to Boko Haram terrorism, kidnappings and banditry.

Crimes against women on the rise in Bihar, MLA says incidents can’t be brought to zero


Recent weeks have seen a spurt in the rate of crimes against women in the state of Bihar which has put the glaring spotlight on the police and political machinery here. While opposition parties have upped the pressure on the government, BJP MLA Arun Sinha said that such crimes can be reduced but cannot be eliminated completely.

The political uproar in Bihar comes in the backdrop of rise in crimes against women with three incidents in the recent past adding fuel to fire. In a state where the crime graph has been steadily on the rise, incidents against women too have been reported. In one incident, three men allegedly raped a minor girl and then tried to kill her in Chapra. While cops arrested two of the accused, the third managed to flee. The minor is in a critical condition at PMCH Hospital.

In a separate incident, the body of a 16-year-old girl was recovered in a mutilated condition in Nalanda’s Baellor village. Cops say that the head was beaten with bricks in an attempt to conceal the identity of the victim who may have been raped before she was killed.

In the third gruesome incident. a minor girl was kept inside a hotel room for four days and repeatedly raped in Muffasil district of the state.

These three incidents, in particular, have inflamed political tensions with Congress spokesperson Rajesh Rathore saying that girls and women are not safe under the government of CM Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi. “There are Nirbhaya-like incidents happening in Bihar everyday and the government is silent,” he said. RJD’s Mrityunjay Tiwari also echoed similar thoughts and said that the message of good governance is false.

In the government’s defence, JDU’s Rajeev Ranjan admitted that the recent crimes against women have been shocking. BJP’s Sinha, however, courted controversy while mounting a counter. “Such crimes can be brought down but cannot be eliminated completely,” he said. Sinha also appealed to people to come out and report such crimes.

There have been 605 rape cases which have been reported in Bihar between January and May of 2019. The maximum number of these have been in Patna – 41.

In 2018, 1475 cases of rape were reported across Bihar while 1195 cases in 2017 and 1008 cases were reported in 2016.

All speeches of Lok Sabha since 1952 to be archived: Speaker Om Birla


New Delhi: In a historic move, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla initiated a process of archiving the speeches of all Lok Sabha members and ministers since 1952. When asked, the Speaker told the Millennium Post exclusively that the availability of the video footage and the audio discs were the main concern now.

However, this work is also time-consuming. The presiding officer of the Lower House (Lok Sabha Speaker) confirmed that the entire process would take three months.

Earlier only Prime Ministers’ speeches were archived. This move will create a real political history of our country. Reportedly nearly 500 MPs have passed away in the last fifteen years, 25 of them belonged to India’s first Lok Sabha.

In the earlier days, there used to be translators in the Parliament and they used to transcribe the speeches and publish in the Parliament proceedings. In those days there used to be only the audio recordings available and used to be preserved in the disc. Later on, Doordarshan was entrusted with the job of recording the both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha proceedings.

Much later, the Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV were launched. In 2006, DD Lok Sabha was replaced by LSTV, a 24-hour TV channel broadcasting in Hindi and English, which is owned and operated entirely by the Lower House itself. Former Lok Sabha Speaker and Left stalwart Somnath Chatterjee who launched it. Later in 2011, the Rajya Sabha TV started the coverage of the proceedings of the Upper House.

The archive will help in understanding the historic discussions on the floor of the Houses. Hence, once this archiving takes place, the entire political history since 1952 will be readily available to the common people. The audio and video recordings will further remove the confusion about what stand or the position different political leaders from different political parties have taken on different issues in our political history, whether the negotiations that took place between the treasury and opposition to build consensus on GST, right to education, land acquisition, or the recent insolvency and bankruptcy laws, triple talaq, rescinding of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and others.

However, the government has not communicated any official version yet. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a museum dedicated to all former Prime Ministers. The deadline to complete the ‘Museum on Prime Ministers of India’ is March 2020.

Sources said the iconic speeches, delivered by the former External Affairs Minister and an eloquent speaker of Bharatiya Janata Party, Sushma Swaraj, who passed away on Tuesday, is on the priority. The recent years saw the demise of several Indian political stalwarts. On August 13 in the last year, former Lok Sabha Speaker and Left veteran Somnath Chatterjee and three days later, on August 16, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away, who had served Parliament, both in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha twelve times.

This year, George Fernandez, the defence minister during the Kargil War and nine times MP in Lok Sabha, passed away in January. After that, the demise of Ram Chandra Paswan in the last month and Sheila Dikshit, the former Delhi chief minister and former LS MP from Kannauj passed away in the last week.

Ambala recalls Sushma Swaraj’s childhood days


In the Ambala Cantonment neighbourhood where Sushma Swaraj grew up, old-timers remember her with fondness. Right from her childhood, she was fond of taking part in debates and contests in school, those who lived close to the family home in Cantonment’s BC Bazaar area recalled. “From Class 6, she had shown an inclination towards politics and later she realised what she had aimed for,” Shyam Bihari, an elderly man who lives in the same neighbourhood, told reporters after the news of the BJP leader’s death on Tuesday night came in.

“She was very affectionate, caring and ever ready to help. To render help to any genuine person who was in need, she did not care even if he was a supporter of a rival political party,” he said. Another man, now in his 60s, recalled that Swaraj used to fetch milk for her family in the morning, around the time he and his friends played cricket in the neighbourhood. At times, the cricket ball hit would hit the pail, spilling the milk.

“But Sushmaji never got angry at us and always used to tell us to continue playing,” he said. Swaraj went to the SD College in Ambala Cantonment and later pursued a law course at the Panjab University in Chandigarh. Her brother Gulshan currently stays with his family at the same Ambala house. Gauri, a domestic help at the house, was inconsolable on learning about the former external affairs minister’s death. “She was very nice. She had come here a few months ago. When she learnt that I had two daughters, she told me to give them a good education and offered any help that might be needed from her side to ensure that they got the best facilities,” she said.

“We used to call Sushmaji ‘buaji’. I am deeply saddened at her death. At the same time, I am also proud of the fact that she rose to such heights in her life and became a role model for millions,” she said. Dinesh Aggarwal, another Ambala Cantonment resident, recalled how Swaraj once rushed to the door late in the evening to meet him at her Delhi home. “When I reached her Delhi residence, her aides told me madam would not meet anyone as she had just returned from a busy day in Parliament. However, when she learnt that Vicky, which is my nickname, had come from Ambala to meet her, she rushed out to meet me,” he said. “We talked for nearly 20 minutes.”

People from other parts of the state also expressed grief. “I still cannot believe that she is not amongst us. Her death is a big loss to the nation,” Hisar resident Lokesh Kumar said. Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij, who represents the Ambala Cantonment Assembly constituency, described Swaraj as a leader with rare qualities and said he was deeply saddened by her death. He recalled that Swaraj was elected as an MLA for the first time at a young age of 25, and later went on to become Haryana’s education minister.

“In 1977, it so happened that the ticket was first given to Som Prakash Chopra, who was jailed during Emergency. But for some reasons, when he did not enter the fray, the ticket was given to Sushmaji, who won, and the Janata Party government was formed,” Vij said. In 1990, Swaraj moved to the Rajya Sabha. Vij has been representing the Ambala Cantonment constituency since then.

The minister told PTI that Swaraj was raised by her maternal grandparents after the death of her mother. The veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader died Tuesday night following a massive cardiac arrest. She was 67. Swaraj was a member of the Haryana legislative assembly from 1977-82 and 1987-90.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar mourned her death.”It is a personal loss for me,” said in a tweet. “Her contributions to Haryana and India will never be forgotten. My deepest condolences to her bereaved family members. May God give her eternal peace,” he said. Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda too described her death a “personal loss”. “She was a person with rare qualities, ever ready to help others,” he said.

Kashmiri Pandits hail amendment of Article 370


Kashmiri Pandits, displaced from the Valley in the 1990s, on Monday hailed the scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution as a “historic event” and hoped it would pave the way for return to their homeland with honour and dignity.

Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora (GKPD), a body representing the community across the world, said the decision cements territorial, political and cultural unity of the Indian Union.

“August 5, 2019 will go down in the history of the country as a day that has put the lasting seal on the sovereignty of Parliament over the entire Indian Union,” it said in a statement.

“The draft bill presented by Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament vindicates the ideals of our great leaders like Syama Prasad Mukherjee, Deendayal Upadhyaya, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and others who dedicated or sacrificed their lives for the integrity and sovereignty of India,” the GKPD said.

This is for the first time that the exiled community has heaved a sigh of relief that its identity, culture and symbols of heritage will find full protection and perpetuation under the Union territory dispensation, the statement said.

“With the abolition of Article 370, the Government of India will be able to bring Jammu and Kashmir nearer to the rest of the nation,” said Manoj Bhan, president of the Jammu and Kashmir Vichaar Manch.

The Kashmiri Pandit community hopes that the Modi government will chalk out a road map of their return to the Valley soon, he said.

“We want a separate settlement in the Valley where all Kashmiri Pandits, who borne the brunt of forced exodus, can live together,” Mr. Bhan said.

August 5 will go down as Kashmir Liberation Day. Liberation from dynastic rule, liberation from corruption, liberation from an unjust State. Liberation for every part of this diverse State. Liberation for all,” K.N. Pandita said.

Militant, Soldier, Bihari Labourer Killed In Shopian


SRINAGAR — A militant of Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit and an army soldier beside a Bihari labouerr were killed in a gunfight at Ittoo Mohalla Pandushan area of South Kashmir’s Shopian on Friday afternoon.

Official sources said that body was recovered from the site of the encounter late today evening. The body was taken to DPL where the slain has been identified as Zeenat-Ul-Islam of Memander.

After conducting all necessary formalities, the body of the slain was handed over to his legal heirs for last rites, they said.

Earlier, an army man was also killed during the encounter, they said, adding that an army man has suffered injuries.

The injured soldier was immediately taken to army hospital for treatment, they said.

A police officer also confirmed the killing of a militant and a soldier during the operation so far.

He said that the operation is still going on in the area. According to the officer one more militant is still hiding in the area.

According to reports, one body is still lying near the encounter site and it is believed to be that of a non-local man namely Mujeeb, a resident of Bihar who was working as a labourer in the area. However, there was no official confirmation in this regard so far.

Earlier in the day, youth took to streets and pelted stones on forces near the encounter site. The police and paramilitary CRPF deployed in the area used tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse them.

In forces action, one youth namely Sahil Ahmad of Chogalpora Shopian sustained pellet injury in his left eye.

Sahil was immediately taken to district hospital Kulgam for treatment where from he was referred to SMHS Srinagar for specialized treatment.

On Thursday evening, the encounter broke out at Ittoo Mohalla Pandoshan village after a joint team of army’s 34 RR, SOG and CRPF launched a cordon and search operation.

Is Nitish Kumar looking for another home?


Unlike the first eight years of his government, the second anniversary of the homecoming of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on July 27 to the National Democratic Alliance was a virtual non-event.

There was no celebration, no release of Report Card to the mediapersons to highlight the achievements of the state government and no grand party organised on this occasion and no doling out of million of rupees as advertisements to newspapers and other media houses.

Instead, the chief minister chaired a six-hour long review meeting on natural disaster as 13 districts are reeling under flood and 20 in the grip of drought. Nitish’s second innings with the Bharatiya Janata Party is very much different from the previous one––that is between November 24, 2005 and June 16, 2013.

He is seldom heard boasting of big achievements of his government. Even during the campaigning for the Lok Sabha election earlier this year, the Bihar chief minister would be heard highlighting the achievements of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre.

This is a significant departure from the past. Nitish would then use anniversaries of coming to power, frequent ‘yatras’ and occasion like Bihar Diwas on March 22 to market his government’s achievements.

No such exercise is undertaken now. There is no talk of Bihari sub-nationalism or ‘asmita’ (pride). Even the demand of special category status to Bihar is seldom raised.

Nitish tried to flex some muscle recently after the demand of more than one berth to the Janata Dal United in the Union cabinet was not accepted by the Prime Minister.

As if that was not enough, some hardliners within the BJP led by Union minister Giriraj Singh started demanding the snapping of ties with the Janata Dal United. They are hopeful that the BJP can win the next year’s Assembly election alone.

There is no dearth of people in political circles who are of the view that Nitish is looking for another ‘home’ after his famous ‘’ghar wapsi’ exactly two years back.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal has opened its door for him, albeit partially.

While other constituents of Grand Alliance like Congress and Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha may have no problem in aligning with Nitish once again. But that may not be the case with the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, whose leader Upendra Kushwaha, never sees eye to eye with Nitish.

Incidentally the RLSP is the only party which has taken to streets on several occasions after the May 23 debacle to highlight the failure of the Nitish Kumar government, be it over the deaths of hundreds of children due to acute encephalitis syndrome, heat wave, floods, plight of farmers or deplorable condition of education in the state. In the first week of July the party even undertook a march from Muzaffarpur to Patna.

Thus two months after the Lok Sabha election and two years after Nitish’s ‘homecoming’, the politics in Bihar continues to remain fluid. Nitish is still wondering as to whether he would go to poll next year on his own agenda or that of Narendra Modi.

However, a day after the second anniversary, Nitish managed to get a prize catch in the form of former Union minister Ali Ashraf Fatmi who on July 28 crossed over from RJD to Janata Dal United. Another good thing for the Bihar CM is that the main opposition party, the RJD is in dormant state and the leader of opposition in the state Assembly Tejashwi Prasad Yadav stayed away from the entire Monsoon Session of the House.

Producer of incendiary song, “Jo na bole jai shree Ram,” claims its writer is a “patriot”


These are the opening lyrics to a new song uploaded on YouTube on 23 July, on a channel called “Varun Bahar official.” The three-minute-long song, titled, “Those who will not chant victory to lord Ram, send them to the graveyard,” is by a Bhojpuri singer, Varun Bahar Upadhyay. The video features Bahar dressed in an all-saffron outfit, sporting rudraksh beads—seeds that are used as prayer beads, usually by followers of the Hindu god Shiva—against a fixed backdrop splashed with images of the Hindu god Ram. The video switches between Bahar singing, images of young men carrying swords and threatening bystanders, and groups of saffron-clad boys and girls dancing. An unidentified graveyard—the cemetery is dotted with Christian crosses—makes an appearance every time Bahar sings the chorus, accompanied by some fist-pumping for added effect. The hashtags accompanying the song are equally unimaginative: “#saffron#terrorist#varun.” The description has a single line in Hindi which translates as “after singing this song, the media has declared Varun Bahar as a saffron terrorist.” A casual search on Google did not reveal any such media reports.

The song has, however, been shared widely on social media, drawing sharp reactions, and scathing criticism for inciting lynching and mob violence against minorities. The unequivocal exhortations in the song’s lyrics are undeniable. Bahar’s YouTube channel, which had 549 subscribers as of 6 pm on 24 July, has been online since 2013, but the oldest video is from just a year ago. The channel is an absurd mix of devotional songs, Bhojpuri love songs, videos proclaiming and seeking support for the prime minister Narendra Modi and content that can only politely be termed titillating.

Bahar’s mobile phone has been switched off since the morning of 24 July, following the furore on social media, and I could not get in touch with Santosh Singh Yadu, the writer of the song and a co-curator of the channel. Rajesh Verma, who runs a YouTube channel called Janta Musical And Pictures, produced and directed the video. Verma told me that the video was originally uploaded on his channel “two or three days ago, but we removed it from Janta music because it became controversial.” He said that some “Pakistani channels and local channels” contacted him and told him that “it’s wrong to say ‘send them to the grave,’ and so we took it down.”

Verma denied that the lyrics were inflammatory and said that “the singer did not take names” of any religion. He argued that “both Hindus and Muslims use graves.” When I pointed out that Hindus are cremated and so the song targets minority communities who bury their dead, Verma claimed that “only married Hindus are cremated, unmarried and single Hindus are buried.” He appeared to have forgotten that the Bharatiya Janata Party patriarch, Atal Bihari Vajpayee—an avowed bachelor—was cremated with full state honours. “I am not anti-Muslim,” Verma told me, when I pushed him to explain the anti-minority lyrics of the video. “I visit dargahs every Thursday and do pranam whenever I go past a mosque.”

Verma’s Janta Musical channel has released 598 videos as of 24 June. One song is titled, “’If you don’t like saffron, get out of India” and boasts of 5.5 million views. Another is called “Every Hindu’s call: Temple first, government only after that,” and has 252,000 views. All the songs feature violent imagery of men dressed in saffron, carrying swords and other similar tropes of majoritarian assertion. The channel also contains several videos supporting Modi and the BJP.

“Bahar and Yadu came to me with the idea of the song,” Verma said. He added that Bahar hails from a village called Mankapur, “near Ayodhya.” He noted that he had heard the song before uploading it but justified the offensive lyrics and its call to violence. “Some people are saying we won’t let the Ram temple be built,” Verma told me. “We are devotees of Ram, so we have made a song in praise of Ram.”

Verma was puzzled by the objection to providing a platform to the song: “If it was a matter of hurting anyone, why would we upload it?” When I asked him who the video was addressed to, he blithely responded, “The writer of the song is a deshpremi”—a patriot—“and he may have had the stone-pelters in Kashmir in mind while writing the song.” Verma also denied any connection to a political party or group and said he was an “independent music producer.” Janta Musical has a Twitter account, which tweeted on 23 July, “We apologise for the rumours spread due to the song of one singer. It was not the intention of Janta Music to hurt the religious feelings of any group.”

While Verma claimed that he removed the video soon after uploading it, the song was available on the “Varun Bahar official” channel till around 6 pm on 24 July. It has now been removed but is still being shared widely on other social-media platforms. The singer and writer, though unavailable, seem to have no regrets about the song or its content. Just hours before the video was removed, at around 3 pm on 24 July, Bahar and Yadu posted this statement, from their official account, in the comments section: