Bihar District Magistrate Issues Order to Close Schools for ‘Heat Wave’ Instead of ‘Cold Wave’.

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In a major typographical error, the Bihar District magistrate has issued an order requiring all schools in the area to be shut down due to a heatwave. In winter. Over the past few weeks, northern parts of India have been experiencing cold wave like situations with temperatures barely touching double digits in Delhi and surrounding areas.

Bihar, too, has been experiencing a really cold winter and the IMD (Indian Meteorological Department) has issued a warning for colder days ahead. The Meteorological Centre at Patna said that the temperature would fall at least two to three degrees below normal starting from the weekend. However, the Gopalganj Distric Magistrate seemed to have mistaken the cold wave for a heat wave.

ANI reports that the District Magistrate issued a notification for all schools in the district to be closed on January 13 and 14. However, in the notification that was actually issued, the reason mentioned was “heat wave” instead of ” cold wave.”

DM Arsas Aziz writes in the order, “Whereas, it has been made to appear to me that due to continuing heatwave weather in the district, health and life of children are at risk”. He further writes, “…prohibit the academic activities of all Private and Government Schools from January 13 up to January 14 in class I to VIII”.

Bihar murder suspect impersonating RAW official in Pune busted.

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A 26-year-old suspect in a murder case in Bihar, has been arrested on Saturday for impersonating an officer of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

The arrested man has been identified as Sonu Suraj Tiwari, a resident of Kondhwa-Budrukh and a native of Kasma in Aurangabad district of Bihar.

Senior police inspector Vinayak Gaikwad of Kondhwa police station said, “Tiwari is wanted for a murder case in Bihar, where three people (including him) murdered a brick kiln owner in an extortion bid in May 2019. He snitched on the two others and informed the Bihar police about their locations, and then ran away to Pune. We have informed the Bihar police who are on their way to Pune to pick him up.”

“He came to one of our officials and falsely identified himself as Akhand Kumar Shukla. He claimed to be an additional superintendent of police-rank officer currently working with the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and said that he wanted to share some information. So our staff brought him to him and while interacting, I asked him for his identification card. He said he cannot share it and his tone suddenly changed,” added senior PI Gaikwad.

The Kondhwa police called up local intelligence officials and verified that no such person existed in the intelligence bureau, said police.

Tiwari was arrested on Saturday and was produced in a local court on Sunday. The court has remanded him to judicial custody. The police have requested the court to not grant him bail while he is lodged at the Yerawada police station, according to senior PI Gaikwad.

A complaint in the matter was lodged by police naik Amol Phadtare who first spoke with the accused. A case under Sections 419 (punishment for cheating by personation) and 420 (punishment for cheating) of Indian Penal Code was registered at Kondhwa police station.

CAA, NRC will not be implemented in Bihar, says Prashant Kishor.

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National vice-president of Bihar ruling party Janata Dal (United) Prashant Kishor on Sunday thanked Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi for their “unequivocal rejection” of the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens while offering an assurance that both CAA and NRC will not be implemented in Bihar.

However, when asked for his comment on the National Population Register (NPR) for which the Bihar government issued a notification on December 18, 2019, Mr. Kishor told The Hindu that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has to clarify on the issue as Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi has already declared that the process of NPR would be started from May 15, 2020.

“I join my voice with all to thank #Congress leadership for their formal and unequivocal rejection of #CAA_NRC. Both @rahulgandhi & @priyankagandhi deserve special thanks for their efforts on this count. Also would like to reassure to all – Bihar me CAA-NRC implement nahi hoga [CAA-NRC will not be implemented in Bihar]”, tweeted Mr. Kishor. His tweet came a day after Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi at the party’s working committee meeting on Saturday said “NPR 2020 is a disguised NRC” and termed the CAA as “discriminator and divisive whose sinister purpose is to divide the country along religious lines.”

Mr. Kishor said West Bengal, Kerala and other States too had started the process of NPR before the controversy erupted but later, when they had a relook, they stopped it.

In December 2019 when asked about the implementation of NRC in Bihar, Mr. Kumar had quipped, “kahe ka NRC? [NRC for what?]”.

In January this year, his deputy Modi said “the process of NPR will start in Bihar” and “no government has the courage to stop the NPR exercise in their respective States.” “The first phase of Indian census 2021 and the process of National Population Register (NPR) in Bihar will be done between the period of May 15 to June 28’ 2020”, said the Bihar government notification issued in December last year.

Open to Discuss CAA in Parliament, No Question of NRC in Bihar, Says Nitish Kumar in Assembly.

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New Delhi: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said there should be discussion on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and if all parties agree, then Parliament too should hold consultations on the contentious legislation that has triggered widespread protests.

Kumar, speaking on the floor of the House, also assured members that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) would not be implemented in the state and Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had made his stand clear on the issue.

NRC and the new citizenship law have created fissures in the JDU, an ally of the BJP, with party vice-president Prashant Kishor publicly asking Kumar to do a rethink on support to the legislation.

“I want to make it very clear that JD(U)’s stance on NRC and CAA is of opposition. Check parliamentary standing committee’s record, first dissent note is of JD(U). Under what circumstances JD(U) supported the bill in both houses only Nitish Kumar ji can tell,” Kishor had said.

The election strategist also urged non-BJP chief ministers to “save the soul of India” and take a stand against the contentious Act.

“The majority prevailed in Parliament. Now beyond judiciary, the task of saving the soul of India is on 16 Non-BJP CMs as it is the states who have to operationalise these acts,” he said.

The Bihar Chief Minister soon clarified that NRC would not be implemented in the state as he attempted to put to rest speculations raised by JD(U)’s support to the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Cornered by journalists who sought to know his views on nationwide NRC as envisaged by Home Minister Amit Shah, Kumar quipped: “Kaahe ka NRC? Bilkul laagu nahin hoga” (NRC, what for? Will not at all be implemented).

The new citizenship law, which seeks to make religion the test for granting citizenship, has been dubbed as “discriminatory” by critics who feel it is against the Muslim community.

Border Police Jawan Fires Over 200 Rounds At Bihar Outpost, Sparks Panic.

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Kishanganj, Bihar: A jawan of the Sashastra Seema Bal posted at an outpost in Bihar’s Kishanganj along the Indo-Nepal border on Saturday fired more than 200 gunshots in the air, triggering panic in the area, a police official said.

The incident took place inside the SSB camp at Piltola border outpost where the sounds of gunshots were heard first at around 3 pm and the gunshots rent the air for about 45 minutes.

According to Deputy Superintendent of Police of Kishanganj, Ajay Kumar Jha, the jawan Abhay Kumar – who is from Rajasthan – took out INSAS rifles from the warehouse inside the camp and began shooting in the air.

SSB officials led by commandant Subhash Chand Negi rushed to the spot and overpowered the jawan – said to be mentally unstable – upon being informed by Abhay Kumar’s colleagues, Mr Jha said.

About 240 fired cartridges were later collected from the spot, he said, adding that a large number of curious and frightened villagers had gathered outside the camp upon hearing the gunshots, who were persuaded to go back to their homes.

The police and the SSB were jointly investigating the matter and officials of the paramilitary force have said on condition of anonymity that Abhay Kumar would face departmental action and may end up facing dismissal from service.

Bihar: Oppn alliance fights for seats ahead of polls.

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Though Bihar assembly elections are still far away, the swords have been drawn in grand alliance of the opposition parties on who will fight on how many seats in the state.

Similar is the case in the ruling alliance where Lok Janshakti Party is eyeing more seats for the party in the assembly elections. The LJP has said that it will fight at least on 43 seats given the fact that it won 100 per cent seats in the general elections in 2019.

In the opposition alliance, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has said the party will contest on 150 seats out of a total of 243 in state assembly.

Vijay Prakash, RJD legislator said, “Though our party is planning to contest all seats in the state, but if like minded parties come together, we will not compromise on anything below 150 seats.”

Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief and former Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi, an ally of the opposition, has upped the ante by demanding 85 seats for his party.

“We cannot win elections on all 243 seats alone, but with an alliance can certainly win 85 seats,” Manjhi said.

In 2015, the Congress, which was a part of the grand alliance with the RJD and the JDU then, had fielded 40 candidates and won 27 seats. Now it is putting pressure on the alliance partners to shell out more in the next assembly elections. “Our vote share in Bihar has increased and people are more inclined to the ideology of the party,” claimed a senior Congress leader Ravindranath Mishra.

“We want to fight on at least 100 seats in the state this time, and the way the party has progressed in the state, it will not be very difficult for other alliance partners to allocate that many seats to us,” Mishra added.

The opposition grand alliance in Bihar includes RJD, Congress, HAM, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party and others.

On the other hand, the ruling JD(U) on the question of allocation of seats said that when the time will come the party will make its stand clear on how many seats it is going to contest.

Prashant Kishor thanks Congress for anti-CAA stand, repeats no NRC in Bihar.

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JD(U) vice-president and poll strategist Prashant Kishor took to Twitter on Sunday to declare that the Citizenship Amendment Act ( CAA ) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) will not be implemented in Bihar.

“I join my voice with all to thank #Congress leadership for their formal and unequivocal rejection of #CAA_NRC. Both @rahulgandhi & @priyankagandhi deserves special thanks for their efforts on this count. Also would like to reassure to all – Bihar me CAA-NRC implement nahi hoga [CAA-NRC will not be implemented in Bihar],” Prashant Kishor tweeted.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s party JD(U) had supported the Centre in passing the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 in both houses of Parliament last month.

After Prashant Kishor’s declaration on Sunday, questions are being raised whether the CAA will be implemented in Bihar or not even as the Centre, two days ago, had issued a gazette notification announcing that the new law has come into effect from January 10, 2020.

However, there are several states ruled by Opposition, like Kerala and West Bengal, which has clearly stated that they will not implement the new citizenship law in their states.

Addressing a press conference in Lucknow on Saturday, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had reiterated that no states can oppose the implementation of the Act as it has already been passed by both the Houses of Parliament.

Party can wrest Bihar on its own: BJP’s Paswan.

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Patna: Amid the political turmoil over leadership in the NDA, Dalit leader and BJP MLC Sanjay Paswan Wednesday said that “the party has the capability to contest and win elections in Bihar on its own”.

Sources said that his statement is likely to create tension in the NDA as the BJP top brass has already announced that the party will contest the Assembly elections in alliance with the JD(U) and chief minister Nitish Kumar will be the face of the NDA.

In September 2019, Mr Paswan had raised the political pitch by stating that the CM should hand over the reins of the state government to the BJP and move to the Centre.

On Wednesday, Mr Paswan told reporters in Patna, “It’s the people of Bihar who want to see a BJP leader becoming the chief minister.” However, he also clarified that “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi will take a final decision regarding the issue but the BJP is a strong party and has the capability to contest and win elections on its own in Bihar.”

Sources said that a section of the BJP led by senior leaders including Mr Paswan has been in favour of promoting firebrand leader Giriraj Singh as the chief ministerial candidate of the NDA in the state.

Mr Paswan’s statement is also crucial because the BJP is part of the state government in Bihar which is being led by the JD(U). Political analysts are of the opinion that in the current scenario where Lalu Yadav is serving a jail term in the fodder scam case, Nitish Kumar has emerged as a stronger leader in Bihar. Nitish Kumar has been the NDA’s face in Bihar since 2005.

The party’s state unit reacted strongly after Mr Paswan gave the statement. Talking to this newspaper, BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said, “Every decision related to the 2020 Bihar election will be taken collectively by the top leadership of NDA partners after proper consultation in due course. Party president Amit Shah has already said that Nitish Kumar will be the face of the NDA in Bihar. The statement being given by some leaders in their individual capacity is not the party’s stand.”

Bihar: Labourers, Women Scheme Workers Hit the Streets on Bharat Bandh.

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Patna: The countrywide strike, called by 10 central trade unions and independent forums, was seen in nearly all districts of Bihar.

Unions that participated in the strike included All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Trade Union Coordination Centre (TUCC), and Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS).

Workers and activists gathered at Patna’s Dak Bungla Chowk and raised slogans against the government’s anti-people policies.

The protesters included midday meal workers, ASHA workers, non-gazetted employees, contractual workers, MGNREGA workers and transport unionists.

Bihar State Auto Union general secretary Raj Kumar Jha, told The Wire that the strike went well thanks to the presence of lorry and bus drivers, auto rickshaw drivers and also petrol pump workers. “Our focus was to put up resistance against the anti-worker polices of both state and central government which includes ban of diesel auto from March 31, 2020,” he added.

Saroj Chaubey, state secretary of the Bihar Mid Day Meal Workers organisation, said districts of Patna, Samastipur, Ara, Munger, Saharsa, East Champaran, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Nawada and Jehanabad saw good mass mobilisation. “People raised slogans such as pandrah sau main dum nahin, ikkis hazaar se kam nahi which means that there is no strength in Rs 1,500 and we demand no less than Rs 21,000,” he said.

Accredited Social Health Workers (ASHA) workers and Anganwadi workers demanded ‘worker’ status to all scheme workers who by virtue of not being officially categorised as ‘workers’, do not come under most of the labour laws in the country.

CITU state leader Arun Kumar Mishra said, “The Bihar chapter of all India strike went extremely well with coordination of all the trade unions and the support from the common man. The outburst against policies such as CAA-NRC of the government was visible. Issues of massive unemployment, price rise, distortion of labour laws and unprecedented sale of public sector and mergers of banks have led to mass eruption.”

All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) Bihar leader Ashok Singh said the rural workforce showed full participation with no supply or restricted supply of vegetables to the mandis of local areas and nearby towns. Construction workers were also seen in huge numbers statewide.

MGNREGA workers claimed to not have been given their wages since months. Nor are there enough jobs for them, they said.

Premchand Kumar Sinha, a leader of Bihar Non-Gazetted Employees Federation (Gope Group), said government employees joined the workers’ strike in large numbers to express their anger in districts of Darbhanga, Buxar, Gaya, East-West Champaran, Ara, Samastipur, Saharsa, and Muzaffarpur,

Rannvijay, general secretary of the AICCTU, claimed that Patna town alone had participation of more than 10,000 people and statewide more than 2 crore workers participated. “Patliputra Industrial area, Nalanda Biscuit factory and Sudha Dairy factory located at Phulwarisharif saw large protests,” he added. 

The strikes were notable for the participation of women scheme workers and their entirely non-violent nature in the state.

Centre Keeps Bihar Waiting For Flood Funds Again, Opposition Slams Amit Shah.

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Patna: With less than a year to go for the assembly polls, the centre has yet again kept Bihar’s Nitish Kumar government waiting for the Rs 4,000 crore it has demanded in flood damages.

Flood claims made by Bihar and Kerala were not given much credence in the Rs 5,908-crore relief fund released by the central government to seven states recently. According to a press release, Karnataka got Rs 1,869.85 crore (totalling over Rs 3,000 crore when taken together with the first instalment of Rs 1,200 crore) while Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra received Rs 1,749.73 crore and Rs 1,500 crore respectively. Bihar, however, had to make do with just Rs 400 crore.

When upset Bihar officials questioned the reason for more funds not being allotted despite the state getting hit by floods two times in a row last year, resulting in the death of over 200 people, they were told that one more visit by a central team would be required. The opposition, however, was far from convinced.

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Shivanand Tiwari termed it as a “clear-cut case of partisanism” by the central government, recalling how it had granted just Rs 1,700 crore as compared to the state’s demand for Rs 7,000 crore even the previous year. He also claimed that the BJP knows Chief Minister Nitish Kumar won’t make a big issue of it, given that he is “more interested in striking a favourable seat-sharing deal than the people”.

Congress legislator Shakeel Ahmed Khan termed it as proof that the plight of the poor in Bihar does not move Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. “What else can you expect from a Finance Ministry under the BJP?” he exclaimed.

Janata Dal United spokesperson C Tyagi admitted to being shocked by the low figure, but hoped that the central government would “walk the talk” soon. Last year, the Bihar government had disbursed Rs 2,000 crore among flood victims.