Soaps to dalits: Cong demands Yogi apology, case against him

New Delhi: Tearing into UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath over the Kushinagar incident where dalits
were asked to shower before meeting him, the Congress demanded a case be registered against the Uttar
Pradesh chief minister and the officials under the SC/ST Atrocities Act. He also demanded an
unconditional apology from the Uttar Pradesh CM.

The matter came to light when people belonging to Mushahar community alleged that they were given
soaps and shampoo by the local administration ahead of Yogi’s visit. They were asked to take bath and
clean themselves up properly before attending a function in Kushinagar.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that this country has fought hard against
untouchability and such actions being meted out by the Uttar Pradesh CM are condemnable.

He asserted that Mr Adityanath directly practised untouchability in the way in which he gave instructions
to the dalits that they must ‘smell good’ before their meeting. “They have insulted the entire community
in that village but more importantly they have most importantly insulted the very concept of dalit in this
country,” he said.

The district administration in Kushinagar asked the residents to have a bath before attending a meeting
with the CM Yogi. To ensure the instructions were followed, soaps, shampoo and perfumes were
distributed among the villagers. The members of the Mushahar community were called to attend a
vaccination programme for the eradication of encephalitis, a campaign started by the CM in Kushinagar’s
Kasiya division.

Five children from the community were to be vaccinated under the campaign from the area.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had visited Saharanpur on Saturday after clashes broke out
between two communities. Earlier, Mr Gandhi had visited the Hyderabad Central University where Rohith
Vemula, a dalit scholar, committed suicide citing discrimination. Issues of dalit beatings in Una (Gujarat),
attacks against the Ambedkar Periyar study circle in Chennai have been raised by the Congress.
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President Pranab Mukherjee hails PM Modi for communication skills

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his
communication skills, calling him “one of the most effective communicators of the times” at a function
where two books were released on Modi on completion of his three years in office.

“Without having the capacity to communicate, a leader may not be able to inspire people to follow his
ideas and approach,” Mukherjee said at the function that witnessed the release of two books — “Mann
Ki Baat: A Social Revolution on Radio” and “Marching with a Billion — Analysing Narendra Modi’s
Government at Midterm”.

According to a statement, the President also received the first copies of the books which were formally
released by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

The book “Mann Ki Baat: A Social Revolution on Radio” is a compilation of Prime Minister Modi’s
addresses to the nation on radio every month in the programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’. The book has been
compiled by Rajesh Jain.

“Marching with a Billion — Analysing Narendra Modi’s Government at Midterm” analyses the
“monumental changes” Modi has brought on multiple fronts. It is authored by Uday Mahurkar.

Mukherjee said in independent India, first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru effectively propagated the
values in the Constitution, including secularism. Then his successor Indira Gandhi mobilised public in
favour of the Liberation war of Bangladesh effectively.

The President said various initiatives taken by Modi have resulted in the Indian economy moving forward
in a steadfast manner.

Vice President Hamid Ansari, Union Minister of Finance and Defence Arun Jaitley and other leaders were
also present on the occasion.

President Mukherjee also congratulated and expressed gratitude to the publishers for bringing out the two
books, saying the books cover important issues of topical concern and should have a wide readership
because of their inherent merit.
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Babu Bajrangi granted seven-day bail by Gujarat High Court

The Gujarat High Court today granted one-week bail to former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, who is
serving life sentence till death in the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case.

Justice B N Karia granted the temporary relief allowing Bajrangi to visit his ailing wife.

In his plea, Bajrangi said his wife is in hospital and will undergo operation for ovarian tumour shortly. He
also told the court that his presence would be needed at this stage.

Bajrangi, who is lodged in Sabarmati Central Jail here, had sought bail for 30 days.

A special court had in August 2012 sentenced Bajrangi to life imprisonment till death in the Naroda Patiya
massacre case, in which 97 people, mostly from minority community, were killed.

The same court had sentenced former minister Maya Kodnani to 28 years in jail.
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Restoring normalcy in south Kashmir is priority: Jaitley

SRINAGAR: The finance and defence minister of India, Arun Jaitley, said on Friday that restoring
normalcy in the four districts of south Kashmir is the government of India’s priority.

“Our priority is to restore normalcy in south Kashmir,” Jaitley said in response to a question at a press
conference held on the concluding day of the 14th meeting of the Goods and Services Council in
Srinagar.

The four south Kashmir districts – Kulgam, Shopian, Anantnag, and Pulwama – have been the centre of
the popular anti-India uprising that broke out in the summer of 2016. In recent weeks, the four districts
have seen massive student protests after government troops attacked students of the degree college in
Pulwama. In the two days that Jaitley was in Srinagar, a civilian’s bullet-riddled body was found in
Pulwama and during the funeral possession militants appeared and fired in the air, even as dozens of
civilians were injured in clashes with government troops.

Asked how he differentiates between Kashmiri and foreign militants fighting Indian rule in the Valley,
Jaitley said that both are involved in the same act of “terrorism”.

“The terrorism and the militancy, both are aimed against the Indian state, its sovereignty and the people
of Jammu and Kashmir,” Jaitley said. “The security forces and the locals are affected by their actions.
Therefore, those who have taken up the violence of this magnitude will be accountable for their actions.”

Jaitley equated pro-freedom aspirations of Kashmir with sentiments of Indian people who wanted to live
free of Indian sovereignty. “Such Sentiments are in every state of the country and they have to be
addressed. The current situation (in Kashmir) emerges when you take to violence and arms, then start
killing security forces or your own people. This unleashes a cycle which does not stop. Sentiments have
to be addressed once the situation is normal here,” he said.

He said an average citizen, irrespective of his political views, will be likely to be on the Indian side in this
debate. “As for those who are killing people, they have to be dealt with as a serious problem and will be
dealt with accordingly,” he said.

When asked whether the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would bring more development in
the neighbouring countries of India, including on the other side of Kashmir, Jaitley said that economic
development was the Indian government’s priority. “Let nobody be envious of what happens across the
border. But there are examples in history where people have entered (another country) in the name of
connectivity and then they have established a strategic presence there,” he warned.
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