India has contributed in establishment of democracy in Bangladesh: Rajnath Singh

New Delhi [India]: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said that India has contributed to the establishment of democracy in Bangladesh and in the last 50 years, Bangladesh has progressed rapidly on the path of development, which is an inspiration for the rest of the world.
Addressing the Swarnim Vijay Parv celebrations today at India Gate to commemorate 50 years of India’s historic victory in the 1971 war and Indo-Bangladesh friendship, Rajnath Singh said, “India has contributed to the establishment of democracy in Bangladesh and today we are very happy that in the last 50 years Bangladesh has progressed rapidly on the path of development, which is an inspiration for the rest of the world.” “Today we all have gathered here at India Gate to celebrate the ‘Vijay Parv’ organized under the ‘Swarnim Victory Year’ of the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War. This festival commemorates the glorious victory of the Indian armies, which changed both the history and geography of South Asia,” he added.
“It was decided to organize this event in a grand form, but after the untimely demise of the country’s first CDS, General Bipin Rawat, it has been decided to mark it with simplicity. On this occasion, I pay my tributes by remembering him too,” he said.
“On this day, I bow to the bravery, valour and sacrifice of every soldier of the Indian Army, due to which India won the 1971 war. This country will always be indebted to the sacrifice of all those bravehearts,” he added.
“Sometimes I wonder, what was the fault of our Bengali sisters and brothers? For demanding their rights? Seeking to preserve their art, culture and language? For talking about his proper representation in politics and governance?” he said.
“The injustice and atrocities on our Bengali sisters and brothers were a threat to the entire humanity in one form or the other. In such a situation, it was our Rajdharm, Rashtradharm and military religion that helped in liberating the people of then ‘East Pakistan’ from that injustice and exploitation,” he added.
“This war is a classic example of our morals, our democratic traditions and just treatment. It will be rarely seen in history that after defeating another country in a war, a country like ours did not express its dominance over it, but handed over the power to its political representative,” the Defence Minister said.
‘Swarnim Vijay Parv’ is being celebrated at India Gate, New Delhi from December 12 till December 13, 2021, to commemorate 50 years of India’s historic victory in the 1971 war and the Indo-Bangladesh friendship. The event was inaugurated by Rajnath Singh today. Major weapons and equipment used during the 1971 war have been displayed along with the snippets of major battles.
The closing ceremony will be held on December 13, 2021, which will be attended by Rajnath Singh. Many dignitaries, including from Bangladesh, will be present.

Centuries of colonial rule could not suppress democratic spirit of Indian people: PM Modi at Summit for Democracy

New Delhi [India]: Emphasising that democratic spirit is integral to India’s civilisational ethos, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that centuries of colonial rule could not suppress the democratic spirit of the Indian people.
“Elected republican city-states such as Licchavi, Shakya flourished in India as far as 2500 years back. The same democratic spirit is seen in the 10th Century’s Uttaramerur inscription that codified the principles of democratic participation,” said PM Modi virtually while addressing the Summit for Democracy organised by the US President Joe Biden on Friday. Stressing that these “democratic spirits and ethos had made ancient India one of the most prosperous,” he said, adding, “centuries of the colonial rule could not suppress the democratic spirit of the Indian people.”
“It again found full expression with India’s independence and laid to an unparallel story in democratic nation-building over the last 75 years,” he added.
It is a story of unprecedented socio-economic inclusion in all spheres, the Prime Minister said, emphasising, “It is a story of constant improvements in health, education and human well being at an unimaginable scale.”
The India story has one clear message to the world that democracy can deliver, that democracy has delivered and that democracy will continue to deliver, PM Modi said.
Underlining that structural features like multi-party elections, independent judiciary and free media are important instruments of democracy, he said that the basic strength of democracy is the spirit and the ethos that lie within our citizens and our societies.
“Democracy is not only of the people by the people for the people but also with the people and within the people, ” PM Modi added while addressing the summit, which US President Joe Biden kicked off on Thursday (local time).
The summit focused on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and provided a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad.
President Joe Biden on Thursday took the next step in his plans to promote democracy against rising autocracies when he convened a virtual “Summit for Democracy,” which hosted more than 100 participants representing governments, civil society and private-sector leaders.
US President Joe Biden on Thursday invoked Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela while referring to the work done by Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights activist, during his opening remarks at the Summit for Democracy.
He said Congressman John Lewis was a great champion of democracy and civil rights around the world and took inspiration from other great leaders – Gandhi and Mandela.

“Democracies are not all the same. We don’t agree on everything. But the choices that we are going to make today together are going to define, in my way, the course of our shared future for generations to come,” Biden said.

“Congressman John Lewis was a great champion of American democracy and civil rights around the world, learning from and taking inspiration from other great leaders like Gandhi and Mandela. In the final words, when he was dying, he reminded our country when he said ‘Democracy is not a state, it is an act,” he added.

Biden said the democracies have to stand up for the values that define “us”.

India stands ready to work with partners to strengthen democratic values globally, says PM Modi

New Delhi [India]: India stands ready to work with its partners to strengthen democratic values globally including in multilateral fora, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.
PM Modi’s remarks come a day after he participated in Summit for Democracy hosted by US President Joe Biden. “Happy to have participated in the Summit for Democracy at the invitation of President Biden. As the world’s largest democracy, India stands ready to work with our partners to strengthen democratic values globally, including in multilateral fora,” he tweeted.
US President Joe Biden on Thursday kicked off the first-ever Summit for Democracy. Besides PM Modi, around 80 world leaders attended the opening remarks virtually, including from France, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Japan, Israel and the Philippines.
The summit focuses on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad.

UK foreign minister warns Russia against ‘any action’ against Ukraine ahead of NATO talks

London [UK] : The United Kingdom will use all economic and diplomatic means at its disposal to prevent the Russian incursion into Ukraine, and such move by Moscow would be strategically wrong, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Tuesday.
“We will support Ukraine and stability in the Western Balkans, to safeguard their security and build their economic resilience … Any action by Russia to undermine the freedom and democracy that our partners enjoy would be a strategic mistake,” Truss said in a statement issued by her office ahead of NATO foreign ministers meeting in Latvia scheduled from Tuesday through Wednesday. In response, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that London out-shadows Moscow in terms of strategic failures.
The event meeting should further unite NATO allies in the face of “continued destabilizing actions by Russia and Belarus,” the statement added.
“We do not encroach on strategic mistakes – this is the historical prerogative of Britain,” she wrote on her Telegram channel.
The alliance is set to gather top diplomats of its countries in Riga to discuss the alleged amassing of Russian troops near the border with Ukraine, Belarus-Poland border migration crisis, Afghanistan, as well as “the situation in the region with NATO’s close partners Georgia and Ukraine.”
Ahead of the meeting, Truss visited the UK troops stationed in Estonia within the framework of NATO enhanced presence in the Baltic region, including Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.

Opposition likely to boycott session if suspension of 12 MPs not revoked

New Delhi [India] : The floor leaders of opposition will meet on Tuesday to discuss strategy after the suspension of 12 MPs in the Rajya Sabha. According to media reports, if the suspension was not revoked, the opposition may decide to boycott the House. The Congress has alleged that the government wants to pass the Bills and now has created a majority number after the suspension of MPs. “By suspending 12 MPs from the #RajyaSabha, BJP has now gone ahead of the majority number. Can easily pass listed bills through the upper house now. This move has no parallel in history of parliamentary democracy and is entirely undemocratic, unlawful, and unconstitutional!” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi tweeted. Fourteen parties under the signature of Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge issued a statement saying the leaders of the opposition condemn the unwarranted and undemocratic suspension of 12 members in violation of rules of procedure of Rajya Sabha. The Rajya Sabha on Monday suspended 12 MPs for the entire winter session of Parliament for creating ruckus in the House during the Monsoon Session on August 11. The suspended MPs are from the Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPI, CPI-M and Shiv Sena. The members are — Syed Naseer Hussain, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, Ripun Bora and Rajmani Patel of the Congress; Priyanka Chaturvedi, Anil Desai of the Shiv Sena; Elamaram Kareem of the CPI-M, Binoy Viswam of the CPI, Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri of the Trinamool.

Biden invites 110 countries to virtual summit on democracy; China, Turkey missing from list

Washington [US]: US President Joe Biden has invited 110 countries to a virtual summit on democracy on December 9-10, excluding China, Turkey, and Russia, according to a list posted on the State Department website on Tuesday.
The list includes Taiwan which is likely to increase tension between US and China. Turkey, a member of NATO, is also missing from the list. The list includes major Western allies of the US. It also includes India, Pakistan and Iraq.
In the South Asian region Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka have been excluded.

“No right to celebrate democracy”

Panaji (Goa) [India]: Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) President Girish Chodankar on Monday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been “butchering democracy on daily basis”, has no right to “Celebrate Democracy” through the initiatives like Women’s Parliament.
Addressing a press conference at Congress House in Panaji, Chodankar said, “BJP which is killing democracy and democratic institutions on daily basis, has no right to celebrate democracy. This exposes the doublespeak of the BJP.” Referring to the Women’s Parliament, Chodankar said that the Leader of Opposition was not given due respect in the event. “He should have been prominently involved in the event being Leader of Opposition but the entire event was hijacked by BJP to please their workers at taxpayers’ money, he said.
His remarks came after the BJP-led Goa government began celebrating its 60th year of liberation on Monday. The state government celebrated democracy and organised the National Women’s Parliament on November 8 to groom women leaders about the opportunities available for them at both state and Centre levels.
The GPCC Chief said that BJP has also acted in an undemocratic way when it stole away the mandate given to Congress by people after the 2017 assembly election. “In the democratic process, people had given their mandate to Congress but BJP stole it overnight,” he said.
“The Speaker of Legislative Assembly allowed BJP to do midnight dacoity and when we filed disqualification petition, he took 20 months to decide on it. He decided after Supreme Court intervened and that too he gave the order legalizing the illegal merger,” he added.
He said that BJP in the centre and the state have repeatedly disrespected democracy.
Chodankar said that the Legislative Assembly Session was held only for 88 days during the last five years. “For a healthy democracy, they should have held Assembly Session, at least for 200 days,” he said.

US stands with people of Myanmar as they strive to restore democracy: Blinken

Washington [US]: The United States stands with the people of Myanmar as they strive to restore the path to democracy and human rights in their country, said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday.
Taking to Twitter, Blinken said, “One year ago, Burma held elections that reflected the Burmese people’s commitment to democracy. Today, we stand with and honor them, including the more than 1,300 who have lost their lives, as they strive to restore the path to democracy and human rights in their country.” Meanwhile, in a statement, the US Department of State reiterated the call for the military regime immediately to cease violence, release all those unjustly detained.
“One year ago, Burma held multiparty elections to select a new government. Independent observers reported that the elections, despite some concerns, were credible and reaffirmed the commitment of the Burmese people to democracy,” read the statement.
“The military’s coup on February 1 sought to overthrow the will of the people and erase the outcome of that credible election. The military’s subsequent and ongoing violent crackdown has further undermined human rights and fundamental freedoms and reversed a decade of progress toward a genuine democracy that the people of Burma clearly sought and still seek,” the statement said.
“The United States is committed to promoting justice and accountability for these and other abuses by the regime. Today, we reiterate our call for the military regime immediately to cease violence, release all those unjustly detained, and return Burma’s path to a genuine and inclusive democracy,” the statement added.
Myanmar is in turmoil since the coup on February 1, when the Myanmar military led by Senior General Ming Aung Hlaing overthrew the civilian government and declared a year-long state of emergency.
The coup triggered mass protests and was met by deadly violence throughout the country.

Proud of Bihar being : President

Patna (Bihar) [India]: President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday joined the centenary celebrations of the Bihar Legislative Assembly in Patna and said that he is proud that Bihar has been the ‘land of the world’s first democracy.
He laid the foundation stone for Shatabdi Smriti Stambh and planted a sapling of Mahabodhi Tree in the premises of the Bihar Legislative Assembly on the occasion. Speaking on the occasion, the President said that the celebration of the centenary year of the Bihar Legislative Assembly is a celebration of democracy. The enthusiastic presence of the present, as well as former members of the Bihar Legislature, is a good example of the healthy parliamentary tradition developed in our country.
While speaking about Bihar’s contribution to democracy, the President said that he is proud that Bihar has been the land of the world’s first democracy. Lord Buddha taught wisdom and compassion to the early republics of the world. Also, on the basis of the democratic system of those republics, Lord Buddha set the rules of ‘Sanghas’. In his last speech in the Constituent Assembly, Babasaheb Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar made it clear that many of the rules of the Buddhist Sanghas continue to exist even in the present parliamentary system, said President’s Secretariat in a statement.
The President said that Bihar has been a land of talented people. A great tradition that made the whole country proud was established on this land by world-class education centres like Nalanda, Vikramshila and Odantapuri, scientists like Aryabhata, policymakers like Chanakya and other great personalities. He said that the people of Bihar have a rich legacy and now it is their responsibility to carry it forward.
Referring to the contributions made by the people of Bihar in the making of the Constitution of India, the President said that when the new chapter of our modern democracy was being created by the Constituent Assembly, the personalities of Bihar played an important role. Dr Sachchidananda Sinha, the senior-most member of the Constituent Assembly, was nominated as the Interim President and on December 11, 1946, Dr Rajendra Prasad was elected as the permanent President of the Constituent Assembly.
Speaking about the ban on the sale and consumption of liquor in Bihar, the President mentioned that Governor Sinha, in his address to the Legislative Assembly of 1921, had said that there should be a definite policy to prohibit the production and sale of intoxicating substances or liquor. In our Constitution, the duty of the State to improve public health is clearly mentioned under the ‘Directive Principles of State Policy. This duty also includes the prohibition of the consumption of liquor and substances injurious to health. By giving the status of law to this Constitutional Article based on the principles of Gandhiji, the Bihar Legislative Assembly has taken a very good step in the interest of public health and society, especially in the favour of women from weaker sections, said President’s Secretariat in a statement.
While addressing the members of the Bihar Legislature, the President said that the people of Bihar consider themselves to be the architects of their destiny. The President expressed hope that all MLAs would try to give reality to the aspirations of the people with their conduct and work. He was happy to note that members of the Bihar Legislature have started a Sankalp Abhiyan to build the state of Bihar free from social problems which are blessed and looked up with respect.
He wished that all the MLAs should implement the resolutions taken in this House and make continuous efforts to establish Bihar as a well-educated, well-cultured and well-developed state. He said that on the strength of such efforts, Bihar would be able to become a leading state on the parameters of ‘Human Development’ by the year 2047 i.e. the centenary year of India’s independence. In this way, this celebration of the centenary of the State Legislature would prove to be meaningful in the true sense.
Conveying his Deepawali and Chhath Puja greetings in advance, the President said that Chhath Puja has now become a global festival. From Nawada to New Jersey and from Begusarai to Boston, Chhath Maiya is worshipped on a large scale. This is proof that the industrious people associated with the culture of Bihar have made their place on the world stage. He expressed confidence that in the same way, the talented and hardworking people of Bihar would set new benchmarks of success in all aspects of local development.

Pak Opposition says will not let Imran Khan be a ‘political martyr’

Islamabad [Pakistan] : Pakistan Muslim League -Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz on Wednesday vowed that the Opposition will not allow the country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan to become a “political martyr”. Maryam raised a question on PM Imran Khan’s identity and said that it is confined to “conspiracies,” adding that he has “nothing to do with the principles of law and democracy”.

Speaking to the media outside the Islamabad High Court after a hearing of the Avenfield reference, Maryam said that the prime minister “should not even attempt to be like Nawaz Sharif”, saying the former prime minister was “an elected prime minister who came into power through the votes of the masses” as opposed to the incumbent ruler, Geo News reported. Maryam Nawaz said that Imran Khan’s identity is to conspire against the elected prime minister and to hold a 126-day sit-in,” she said in response to her own question.
She was referring to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) 2014 sit-in in Islamabad.

She said that the premier will have to “answer for his conspiracies”.
Speaking further about the so-called “conspiracies”, she said that if the use of “magic” has yielded such success, then it should be put to use to alleviate the petrol, diesel, flour crises.

‘Vibrant judiciary is essential for healthy democracy’

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana on Saturday said the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed some deep-rooted problems and thanked the central government for clearing vacancies in the judiciary saying the “appointments will tackle pendency to some extent.”

New Delhi [India], October 2 : The CJI was speaking at the launch of “Pan India Legal Awareness and Outreach Campaign” and said a vibrant judiciary is essential for a healthy democracy. He also said that from May, they have recommended more than 106 judges to High Courts. He thanked the government as it has cleared some recommendations. CJI also pointed out the lack of virtual conferencing facilities in rural areas and said the pandemic has exposed some deep-rooted problems.
He stressed, “People of the country should feel that law and institutions are for everyone and the faith and trust of people strengthen institutions in the democratic country. He said that the quality of democracy rests on the quality of justice. National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) ambitious 6-week program goal should be that if the needy cannot reach us they will reach the needy.”
President Ram Nath Kovind and Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju were also present at the event.
Kovind recalled Gandhi’s statement that the finest legal services shall be available for the poorest at reasonable prices and said, “The country freedom struggle was led by several great lawyers.”
“This advice of Mahatma Gandhi should be followed by the legal fraternity, especially by senior advocates. He recommended that senior advocates should give a certain part of their time in pro bono services to people from weaker sections.”
Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said, “Lack of legal knowledge is a barrier for people to access legal services. He appreciated NALSA for performing an exemplary role in providing justice delivery to the doorsteps of the people.”
Justice UU Lalit, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud and various Supreme Court Judges and judges of Delhi High Court, members of bar association were present in the event

Imperative for India, US to defend democratic principles, institutions: Kamala Harris

Washington [US]: Noting that democracies around the world are under threat, US Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday said it is imperative that India and the US defend democratic principles and institutions within their respective countries and around the world.
Harris made the remarks during her joint statement with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “As democracies around the world are under threat, it is imperative that we defend democratic principles and institutions within our respective countries and around the world and that we maintain what we must do to strengthen democracies at home. And it is incumbent on our nations, of course, to protect democracies in the best interest of the people of our countries,” she said.
PM Modi, who is on a three-day visit to the US, held a first in-person meeting with the Indian origin US Vice President.
“India is a very important partner to the US. We had COVID-19, the kind of crisis and importance of our shared belief in a free and open Indo-Pacific region. On COVID-19, our nations have worked together. Early in the pandemic, India was a vital source of vaccines for other countries,” Harris said.
She recalled the US’ assistance to India during the surge of COVID-19 in the country. “When India experienced the surge of COVID in the country, the United States was proud to support India in its need and its responsibility to vaccinate its people,” she added.
Harris welcomed New Delhi’s announcement that it will soon be able to resume exports of COVID-19 vaccines.
She also lauded India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive.”I welcome India’s announcement that it will soon be able to resume vaccine exports. It is particular note and admiration that India is currently vaccinating approximately 10 million people a day as of today,” Harris said.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that discussions between the two leaders were “substantive and they lasted over an hour”.
“The meeting reflected warmth and cordiality. Discussions covered a number of areas which included COVID-19, climate change, the issue of terrorism, cooperation in the technology sector including cooperation in cyber security, space etc,” Shringla said.

“We stand as beacon of hope”

New Delhi [India]: Union Minister for Road, Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday greeted on International Day of Democracy and assured that he is committed to ensuring liberty, equality, justice and fraternity in the country.
Gadkari hoped to stand as a beacon of hope and inspiration for the world. In a tweet, Gadkari wrote, “Committed to liberty, equality, justice, and fraternity, we stand as a beacon of hope and inspiration for the world. Happy International Day of Democracy. #WorldDemocracyDay.”
Meanwhile, Vice President of India and Rajya Sabha Chairperson, M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla will jointly launch Sansad TV at the Main Committee Room, Parliament House Annexe on Wednesday at 6 PM.
The launch date coincides with the International Day of Democracy, informed the official communique by the Prime Minister’s Office.

US President calls Texas’ new voting law ‘assault on democracy’

Washington [US]: US President Joe Biden on Tuesday called the Republican-backed new voting law passed in Texas an ‘assault’ on the US democracy.
Biden’s remarks came after Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the ‘election integrity bill’ into law that Democrats view as an effort to restrict voting rights, CNN reported. “We’re facing an all-out assault on our democracy. We need to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to protect the sacred right to vote. I urge Congress to send them to my desk immediately,” Biden said in his tweet.
Meanwhile, US Vice President Kamala Harris has also slammed the new Texas law and called it ‘restrictive’ for the Texans.
“The new voting law in Texas signed by Gov. Abbott is one of the most restrictive in the nation. The bill limits the options that enabled a historic number of Texans, especially citizens of color, to vote safely in our last election,” Harris said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, the bill passed by the Republican legislation bans 24-hour and drive-thru voting, imposes new hurdles on mail-in ballots and empowers partisan poll watchers, CNN reported.
“It does make it easier and than ever before for anybody to go cast a ballot. It does also, however, make sure it is harder than ever for people to cheat at the ballot box,” Abbott said during the event at which he signed the bill into law.
The bill also blocks counties from sending unsolicited mail-in voting applications — even to those who are over age 65 and therefore qualify automatically to vote by mail, CNN reported.

Pakistan lawmaker Mohsin Dawar launches party to promote secular, federal, democratic system

Peshawar [Pakistan]: Pakistani lawmaker Mohsin Dawar and some of his Pashtun colleagues on Wednesday launched a party called National Democratic Movement (NDM), with the aim to promote a secular, federal and democratic parliamentary system.
NDM, which was launched in Peshawar seeks “to establish a just, peaceful, tolerant and humane society” in which citizens enjoy fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, association and protection of the law, The Friday Times reported. The leaders of the newly formed party promised to work for provincial autonomy, the supremacy of the parliament, and allocating funds to education, health and human development.
“The Central Organising committee was formed after extensive consultations held over the last few months with inputs from leaders, friends and supporters involved in the process,” the newly formed party said on Twitter.
The party manifesto was also announced at the launch.
“The state must provide protection and facilities to all religions and beliefs without prejudice, discrimination or interference,” the document reads, as quoted by The Friday Times.
The party said that the powers of the state and the government cannot be absolute and should respect the fundamental rights of citizens outlined under the country’s Constitution. It also recognises “the historical marginalisation of smaller provinces in the distribution of resources.”
“Pakistan is a multinational, multilingual, multicultural and multi-religious country with various units of historical identity and consciousness that must be acknowledged and recognized. Our party will strive to establish a new development agreement between all provinces…the aim of which will be to establish a just system based on equality… and to devise a power-sharing system based on political consensus and a decentralised federal system,” the manifesto reads.
Dawar, who hails from Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) has time and again accused the Pakistan Army of carrying out violence in the region with impunity.

“Disagreements part of democracy”

Gulmarg (Jammu and Kashmir) [India]: Expressing his anguish over the uproar in the Parliament during the recently concluded Monsoon session, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Wednesday said that the members of the Houses must maintain the dignity while sharing their views.
Birla, who was on the visit to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, said that agreements and disagreements are a part of the democracy but the members should maintain certain decency while debating over an issue. “The members of Parliament have the privilege to express their views. I always try that they get extra time in the Parliament to share their opinions,” he said.
“India’s democracy is a democracy of free expressions, a democracy of elected institutions of the people. Agreements and disagreements are part of the democracy but I expect the members to maintain certain decency in the Parliament.”
“Parliament should work ethically, our conduct should be such that we can play the guiding role for other democratic institutions,” the Lok Sabha Speaker said.
The Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die on August 11 bringing an end to a month-long Monsoon Session. The session began on July 19 and was slated to go on till August 13. The lower house was adjourned for an indefinite period by Om Birla, who was in the chair.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, earlier today, met with the representatives of District Development Councils (DDCs), Block Development Councils (BDCs) and Panchayats at Gulmarg.
“Representatives of Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) are working towards the development of the union territory. Jammu and Kashmir has now moved towards peace and prosperity,” Birla said after the meeting.
Birla assured public representatives not to be worried about their safety as the Central government and security agencies are committed to provide complete security to every public representative and the common citizens.
Referring to the changes seen in the Valley after the scrapping of Article 370, he said: “The way people took an active part in the elections, voted in large numbers shows that they want development.”
Birla arrived in the valley to inaugurate and participate in the Parliamentary Outreach Programme for the empowerment of Panchayati Raj Institutions in the Union Territory. He arrived in Srinagar on August 29.

Manhandling of Opposition MPs in Rajya Sabha nothing short of murder of democracy, says Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi [India]: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday alleged Members of Parliament (MPs) from Opposition parties were manhandled and beaten inside Rajya Sabha for the first time in history.
Speaking at Jantar Mantar during a protest by the Opposition over the demand to repeal the three farm laws, the Congress leader said the incident was “nothing short of murder of democracy”. “They don’t let us talk in Parliament. Yesterday, for the first time in the history of our country, members of the Rajya Sabha were manhandled and physically beaten. This was nothing short of murder of democracy,” said the Wayanad MP.
He further alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committing atrocities on farmers. “He (PM Modi) is snatching things from farmers what is rightfully theirs. He calls farmers anti-national and Khalistanis,” he added.
Earlier speaking at Vijay Chowk during the protest march, the Congress leader said the voice of 60 per cent of the people in the country was “crushed and humiliated”.
Opposition parties on Thursday held a protest march against the three farm laws introduced by the Central government last year. The march began from Parliament and concluded at Vijay Chowk.
Ahead of the protest march, Opposition leaders also held a meeting at the office of Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge to discuss the alleged manhandling of women members in the Upper House yesterday.
During the recently-concluded monsoon session of Parliament, the Opposition forced adjournments in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha over their demands including repeal of three farm laws and probe into allegations of surveillance using Pegasus spyware.

Pakistan Crisis: No constitutional governance, attacks on freedom of expression rampant- PDM chief

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan has no constitutional governance and attacks on journalists and free speech are rampant in the country, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Fazlur Rehman said on Wednesday.

“At this time, there is no constitutional governance in the country and attacks on freedom of expression are rampant, journalists are being ambushed,” Pakistan’s The News International quoted Fazlur as saying during a press brief in the National Assembly.
“We believe that government bodies NAB and FIA have become political institutions, who have lost their standing, as they are being used against the Opposition,” he added.

Recently, the NAB started a fresh inquiry against Pakistan’s Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif soon after his bail was extended by the court.

“Shehbaz was arrested in a clean water case but was booked in the Ashiyana housing scandal and then was involved in the sewer line of Ramzan Sugar Mill. Now the National Accountability Bureau has been pressurised by Imran Niazi to file a new case against him,” Dawn quoted PML-N leader Ataullah Tarar Tarar as saying.

Earlier, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had said that the Pakistan government has been continuously threatening opposition leaders through constitutional bodies.

For a long time, Pakistan’s government has been targetting multiple key leaders and journalists in the country through its administrative bodies resulting in no constitutional governance in the country.

In July, an international media watchdog report listed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on a list of the world’s 37 worst rulers in the area of press freedom. The report titled “Press freedom predators gallery – old tyrants, two women and a European”, said how the military and intelligence of the country plays a major role in curbing press freedom in the country.

According to the Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Pakistani military had reasserted the “deep state over civilian power.”

“Deep state” is a euphemism for what in Pakistan means permanent supremacy of the armed forces and the feared military intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

India, Russia to have 2+2 talks, commit to a democratic Afghanistan

New Delhi, July 9 (UNI) India and Russia on Friday agreed to hold 2+2 talks involving foreign and defence ministers later this year, adding a new dimension to their steady and multi-dimensional relationship.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held a “warm and productive” conversation in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the multi-sectoral ties between the countries.

“The quality of conversation reflected our Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership,” tweeted Jaishankar later.

Both reviewed preparations for the bilateral Annual Summit that will take place this year and cooperation at the UN and other fora.

“A new dimension that has been added to our relationship is the agreement to hold 2+2 dialogue of foreign and defence ministers. We feel that we should do this sometime later this year,” Jaishankar said at a joint press conference after the meeting.

He and Lavrov also had an “open” and wide-ranging discussion on regional and global issues such as Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Libya, the Caucasus; ASEAN and the Indo-Pacific.

Afghanistan, as expected, was the prime focus of the talks between the foreign ministers.

“Afghanistan occupied a lot of our attention because it has a direct implication on regional security.

We believe that the immediate need of the day is really a reduction in violence and if you have to see within Afghanistan and around Afghanistan,” Jaishankar said.

On Thursday, the Russian foreign ministry said that the two sides would compare notes on “major global and regional issues, including the political process in Afghanistan, settlement in Syria [and the] situation around the Iranian nuclear programme”.

Friday’s discussion took place hours after President Joe Biden announced that the US drawdown from Afghanistan will conclude on August 31.

“It is important for India and Russia to work together to ensure that much of the progress we have seen in economic, democratic and social terms are maintained.

We are both committed to an independent, sovereign, united and democratic Afghanistan,” the EAM said after the talks.

The military-political situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated over the practically complete withdrawal of the Western coalition forces led by the US from the country.

Afghan Army Chief General Wali Mohammad Ahmadza, who was newly appointed to this post by President Ashraf Ghani, has said that the priority of the Afghan forces is to protect the country’s main cities, border crossings, and highways from the Taliban.

Jaishankar and Lavrov compared notes on Afghanistan. The EAM stressed the point that whoever governs the country has a legitimacy aspect to it “which can not and should not be ignored.

“We have both been victims of fundamentalist thinking and know well the dangers of radicalization and extremism.

As pluralistic societies, we must be especially on guard against the revival of such forces,” he said.

Earlier, the EAM reviewed economic cooperation with Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov, co-chair of India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission-TEC.

Both took stock of engagement in trade and investment, connectivity, energy, transport and Science & Technology.

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