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Series of appalling deadly attacks on displaced people in DR Congo

New York [US] : The UN refugee agency UNHCR said it is “appalled by a series of deadly attacks” on displaced people in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), its spokesperson told journalists on Tuesday in Geneva.
In the latest incident carried out by armed groups, UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov cited local authorities in saying that 26 people were killed on Sunday at Ndjala site in the Drodro health zone in Ituri province. “Ten women and nine children were among the dead and 11 people were wounded. The attackers used guns, machetes and knives”, he told journalists at the UN in Geneva.
Since 19 November, this is the fourth attack on IDPs in Ituri Province – host to 1.7 million displaced people.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the DRC David McLachlan-Karr expressed his anger, saying, “I am shocked, outraged and deeply saddened by these repeated attacks on civilians who are forced to leave their homes to seek safety from the violence”.
“It is imperative to protect these populations. I reiterate that these women, men and children must be allowed to live in peace”, he underscored.
The UN official reminded that the attacks are “violations of international humanitarian law and the 2009 Kampala Convention on IDPs”.
“They must stop immediately. I don’t want to count anymore the number of attacks that these vulnerable people are already enduring”, he said.
Humanitarian aid is being deployed rapidly to assist them.
On 21 November, a militia group attacked Drodro, another site for displaced people, leaving 44 dead and over 1,200 shelters destroyed. They also attacked a site at Tche, wrecking almost 1,000 shelters, according to authorities.
As many as 20,000 inhabitants fled to Rhoe, seeking safety near the military base of the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), which doubled in size from 21,000 to 40,500 in under 48 hours – forcing the newly arrived families to sleep in the open.
The main needs are food, shelter, health care and psychosocial assistance.

Uttarakhand CM announces withdrawal of Char Dham Management Board law

Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India]: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Tuesday announced that the State government will be withdrawing Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board Act after months of protests by Char Dham Teerth-Purohit Hak Hakookdhari Mahapanchayat Samiti and other organisations.

“Our government has taken a decision to take back the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board Bill,” said Dhami.
“The decision to abolish the Devasthanam Board is taken on the basis of the feedback received by Teerth Purohit, Haq Hookdhari, people’s representative and report of a high-level committee,” he added.

Last December, the Uttarakhand Assembly had passed the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board Bill.

The law aimed at bringing the Char Dham of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri and 49 other temples under the purview of a proposed shrine board.

Many organisations including Char Dham Teerth-Purohit Hak Hakookdhari Mahapanchayat Samiti were opposing the said act. According to the temple priests, their rights are being played due to the formation of this board.

Mahapanchayat in its meeting on November 20 had decided to organise a sit-in protest against the Devasthanam Act at worship places of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri Dham.

Kedarnath Teerth Purohit Samaj had earlier claimed that the then Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat had assured to reconsider the board.

The agitation against the board has been going for 21 months.

Earlier, Uttarakhand High Court had dismissed two pleas challenging the validity of the said law, one of the pleas was filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. (ANI)

TMC raises 10 issues including women’s reservation bill in all-party meet

New Delhi [India] : In an all-party meet convened ahead of the winter session of Parliament, the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) raised ten issues including the Women’s reservation bill to be brought in this session of parliament.
Sources told ANI that the TMC leader demanded from centre to “bring women’s reservation bill in this winter session of Parliament and not bulldoze bills without screening by the opposition.” “Issues like Unemployment, Price Rise of Essentials/Fuel Prices, the law on MSP, weakening of the federal structure and stop disinvestment of profitable PSUs were raised by TMC in the meet,” said the source.
“TMC Leader also raised the issue of BSF jurisdiction that is increased in West Bengal, Pegasus Issue, disrupted Monsoon session and Covid-19 situation in Country” source added.
TMC’S floor leaders of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Derek O’Brien respectively were present at the meet.
At the all-party meeting was called by the Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi on Sunday ahead of the winter session of Parliament, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Minister Piyush Goyal and Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury were among the leaders who attended.
The BJP-led government has a heavy agenda for the winter session with its legislative business including 26 new bills.
The winter session will commence on November 29 and is scheduled to conclude on December 23.

Pakistan Journalist body objects to some clauses of journalists protection law

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) on Saturday said some clauses of the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Act 2021 could be used to frame a media person in a false case and that should have been avoided, local media reported.
The bill was approved by the National Assembly on November 8 and the Senate on Friday, Dawn reported. According to the Pakistani publication, the treasury side approved the bill without forwarding it to the relevant standing committee.
Later, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain congratulated working journalists over the passage of the bill in a tweet saying: “The law would, for the first time, give working journalists the same rights the journalist community enjoyed in highly developed societies,” Dawn reported.
Meanwhile, PFUJ secretary general Nasir Zaidi said Clause 6 (3) of the Act could be used by any government to frame journalists and it should have been amended, the publication said.
“These are thin lines that are always placed in such laws that could be used against any individual or organisation,” Zaidi said.
Clause 6 of the Act states: “All journalists and media professionals must respect the rights and reputation of others and not produce material that advocates national, racial, ethnical, religious, sectarian, linguistic, cultural or gender-based hatred which may constitute an incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence,” Dawn reported.
Zaidi said these restrictions were also present in other laws and such a connotation in the Act could have been avoided if it would have been finalised after consultation in the Senate standing committee.

Japan conveys concerns to China, Russia about joint patrolling in Asia Pacific

Tokyo [Japan] : Japan has conveyed concerns to Russia and China over joint patrolling by their air forces in the Asia Pacific region, said Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi on Sunday.
“As previously, we informed Russia and China via diplomatic channels about our concerns about similar actions from the viewpoint of the regional security,” Sputnik quoted the minister as saying. On Friday, the Russian and the Chinese armies conducted the third joint air patrolling in the Asia-Pacific involving strategic bombers, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
The patrolling as part of the military cooperation 2021 plan was not designed to counter other countries, the ministry added.
The Chinese Defense Ministry said that China sent two H-6K aircraft to form a joint formation with two Russian Tu-95MC aircraft over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea.
During the patrol, the aircraft strictly abided by the provisions of international law and did not enter the airspace of other countries, the ministry said.
According to the ministry, this is the third joint strategic air patrol by the Chinese and Russian militaries, aiming to further develop the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the new era, enhance the level of strategic coordination and joint operational capabilities, and jointly maintain global strategic stability.
The operation is part of the annual cooperation plan between the Chinese and Russian militaries and is not targeted at any third party.

Police Commissionerate system will now be implemented in Bhopal, Indore

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) [India] : Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday said that the Police Commissionerate system will now be implemented in Bhopal and Indore.
Sharing information about the implementation of the Police Commissionerate system in Bhopal and Indore, Shivraj Singh Chouhan told, “The law and order situation in the state is better, the police are doing a good job. The police and administration together have done many achievements, but the urban population is increasing rapidly”. “The metropolis is also expanding geographically and the population is also increasing continuously. Hence some new problems of law and order are arising. We have decided to solve them and to control the criminals. We are implementing Police Commissionerate system in two big metropolitan cities of the state, in the capital Bhopal and in the clean city of Indore in order to better control the crime,” he added.

Varun Gandhi urges PM Modi to take ‘immediate decision’ on farmers’ demand

New Delhi [India] : Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Varun Gandhi on Saturday welcomed the Centre’s decision to repeal the three farm laws and has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to “immediately” take a decision on the farmers’ demand for a law on minimum support price (MSP) and their other demands.
“I welcome the announcement of withdrawing three agricultural laws,” said the BJP leader in a Tweet today. He further said, “It is my humble request that now the demand for making a law on MSP and other issues should also be decided immediately so that the farmer brothers should return home respectfully after ending the agitation,” he added.
“I have sent a letter to the respected Prime Minister in this regard,” he added.
The BJP leader’s remarks came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced the repealing of the three Central farm laws.
Farmers have been protesting the Centre’s three farm laws since they were passed in 2020.
The three farm laws are — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act provides for setting up a mechanism allowing the farmers to sell their farm produces outside the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). Any licence-holder trader can buy the produce from the farmers at mutually agreed prices. This trade of farm produces will be free of mandi tax imposed by the state governments.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act allows farmers to do contract farming and market their produces freely.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act is an amendment to the existing Essential Commodities Act.

China opposes ‘Taiwan independence’ attempt through ‘law amendment’

Beijing [China]: China-Taiwan relationship has been strained for years but in a stern warning to Taipei, Beijing opposed “Taiwan independence” attempts through “law amendment.”
Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office said that such moves by Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are being closely watched, in response to a media query on Wednesday, reported Xinhua. The DPP, despite the resolute opposition and stern warnings from various parties, persisted with such attempts, which would only boomerang in the end, Zhu said.
The spokesperson urged all responsible political parties and people with a vision on the Taiwan island to expose the DPP’s plot and take concrete actions to safeguard peace across the Taiwan Strait and the wellbeing of people in Taiwan, reported Xinhua.
Zhu also called on Taiwan compatriots to stay highly vigilant, consciously oppose and resist any attempt to seek “Taiwan independence” through “law amendment,” and avoid being hijacked by the DPP onto its chariot for “Taiwan independence.”
This came as Beijing claims sovereignty over the democratic island and has increased military incursions in Taiwan.
Taiwan is a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China.
The Taiwan independence movement is a political movement to seek formal international recognition of Taiwan as an independent, sovereign state and in opposition to Chinese unification. China currently claims it is a province of the People’s Republic of China.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav accuses Nitish Kumar of protecting criminals

Patna (Bihar) [India] : Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav slammed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on the law and order situation in the state and accused him of protecting criminals in Bihar.
“Chief Minister is aware of everything. In Bihar, Gangs of Nitish Kumar is going on. There are continuous reporting in cases of theft, murder, rape, people are dying every day, the law and order situation has completely collapsed. The whole is indebted in Corruption,” said Yadav on Monday. “He is protecting the criminals. In every case, the names of his ministers and MLAs are coming up. Nitish Kumar has no control over his ministers and MLAs, so how will he control criminals,” he added.
Meanwhile, Nitish Kumar on Monday said the crime rate in Bihar has come down after the liquor ban and he stands against liquor.
Speaking to media persons here, Kumar said, “Some people have turned against me because I ordered a liquor ban and I am serious about it. Those who are against it, feel bad. It is a different matter. They might have their own opinion. But we listened to the people – both men and women. I stand against liquor.”
“The crime figures have not increased. If something happens, action is taken. Administration and Police are active and action is being taken wherever something is happening,” he said.
Earlier this month, 32 people died in the state after consuming spurious liquor in Bihar. Nitish Kumar has called a high-level meeting over the liquor ban on November 16.

India expresses concern over China’s new Land Boundary Law

New Delhi [India]: India on Wednesday expressed concern over China’s new Land Boundary Law that Beijing adopted on Saturday for the protection and exploitation of the country’s land border areas.
In response to media queries on China’s Land Boundary Law, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi said, “China’s unilateral decision to bring about legislation which can have an implication on our existing bilateral arrangements on border management as well as on the boundary question is of concern to us.” “The passage of this new law (China’s Land Boundary Law) does not in our view confer any legitimacy to the so-called China-Pakistan “Boundary Agreement” of 1963 which the Government of India has consistently maintained is illegal and invalid agreement,” said Bagchi.
The new Chinese law will take effect on January 1, 2022. Lawmakers approved the law at the closing meeting of a legislative session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
Bagchi also said, “India expects that China will avoid undertaking action under the pretext of this law which could unilaterally alter the situation in the India-China border areas.”
He further said that unilateral moves taken by China will have no bearing on the arrangements that both sides have already reached earlier, whether it is on the boundary question or for maintaining peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on India-China border areas.

EU calls on Syria to abolish death penalty

Brussels [Belgium]: The European Union on Saturday condemned the practice of death penalty in Syria and called on Damascus to abolish the punishment.
“The European Union condemns the recent execution of 24 people sentenced on charges of terrorism for starting wildfires in coastal regions of Syria in September and October 2020,” the statement read. The EU also expressed concern that minors received verdicts of 10 to 12 years imprisonment on the same charges.
The bloc stressed that it strongly opposes the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances as it is a “cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment” and pledged to continue the efforts to achieve its universal abolition. The EU further urged Syria to join the “worldwide trend to abolish the capital punishment.”
In fall 2020, Syria was hit by massive forest fires in the provinces of Latakia, Tartus, Homs and Hama. Those responsible were identified by the Syrian law enforcement agencies later in the year. The Syrian Interior Ministry reported that the number of fires at the time reached 187, they affected around 280 villages and settlements, three people died.

“Centre should provide MSP”

Jhunjhunu (Rajasthan) [India]: Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday said that if the Centre would provide a Minimum Support Price (MSP) guarantee through a law, they can resolve the farmers’ agitation against the farm laws.
Pointing out that the agitating farmer would not compromise on less than the MSP guarantee law, Malik said that it is the only thing that farmers need. “If the government (Centre) provide MSP guarantee through a law then it can be resolved (farmers’ agitation against the three farm laws). There is only one thing so why are you (Centre) not fulfilling it? They (farmers) will not compromise on less than MSP,” he said.
Farmers have been protesting nationwide since November 26 last year against the three newly-enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Biden signs bill into law to raise federal debt ceiling : White House

Washington [US] : US President Joe Biden has signed a bill into law to temporarily increase the federal debt ceiling by USD 480 billion until early December, the White House said.
“On Thursday, October 14, 2021, the President signed into law: S. 1301, which provides for authority to increase the debt limit by $480 billion, which is expected to be sufficient to allow the Federal Government to continue to meet its full commitments through early December,” the White House said in a statement on late Thursday. Earlier, the House, a part of the federal government’s legislative branch, had voted earlier to raise the debt limit into December.
Biden administration officials had warned the US would default if the debt limit was not raised by October 18, The Hill reported.

Don’t fear contempt of court: Tripura CM

Agartala (Tripura) [India]: Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has sparked a controversy after he asked civil service officials and executives to work for the people without “worrying about contempt of court” as the government is not run by the court.

Addressing the 26th biennial conference of the Tripura Civil Service Officers’ Association in Agartala on Friday, Deb said: “We are a ‘by the people government’ and not by the court government. The court is for the people and people are not for the court.”
He also mentioned that despite repeated caution by his former Chief Secretary on the ground of contempt of court, his Cabinet took the decision for the ad hoc promotion of the government officials, which is a long-pending issue in the Supreme Court.

“Even the Chief Secretary used to say this cannot happen. But I was firm that it is a Cabinet decision and has to happen. How long can I keep them sitting? It was injustice toward those who go for retirement without getting their due promotion. They feared it would be contempt of the court as if contempt of the court is like a tiger. I am a tiger, the person who runs the government and is the main person in the party in power and possesses the total power,” the CM said.

Deb also quoted former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee that the Court is for implementation of the laws which are made by the Legislature.

He mentioned that the state’s previous Chief Secretary was disposed of his duties because he feared “contempt of court”.

“I have been threatened that it will be contempt of the court. The previous Chief Secretary was telling me that he will be jailed under contempt of court and so I have given him farewell and let him go.”

Reacting to the comments, Trinamool Congress general secretary Abhishek Banerjee on Sunday uploaded a video clip of Deb’s speech on Twitter, claiming that Deb mocked judiciary and democracy as well.

“@BjpBiplab is a DISGRACE to the entire nation! He shamelessly mocks Democracy, MOCKS the JUDICIARY and seemingly gets away with it! Will the SUPREME COURT take cognizance of his comments that reflect such grave disrespect?” Banerjee tweeted on Sunday. (ANI)

MCC announces amendment to Laws of the Game, to use gender-neutral term “batters” instead of batsmen

London [UK]: The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) on Wednesday announced amendments to the laws of the game to use the gender-neutral term ‘batter’ and ‘batters’ rather than ‘batsman’ or ‘batsmen’.
These changes have been approved by the MCC Committee, following initial discussion by the club’s specialist Laws sub-committee. “MCC believes that the use of gender-neutral terminology helps reinforce cricket’s status as an inclusive game for all. The amendments are a natural evolution from work already undertaken in this area as well as an essential part of MCC’s global responsibility to the sport,” read an official statement.
The changes are effective immediately and updates have been made to the Laws of Cricket published at lords.org/laws. A number of Governing Bodies and media organisations are already using the term “batter” in their Playing Conditions and reporting. The MCC expects and encourages others to adopt the updated terminology following Wednesday’s announcement of the change to the Laws.
At the time of the last redraft in 2017, it was agreed, following consultation with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and key figures within women’s cricket, that the terminology would remain as “batsman” and “batsmen” within the Laws of the game.
The changes announced reflect the wider usage of the terms “batter” and “batters” which has occurred in cricketing circles in the intervening period. The move to “batter” is a natural progression, aligning with the terms of bowlers and fielders that already sit within the Laws.
Women’s cricket has enjoyed unprecedented growth at all levels around the world in the same period. England’s victory over India in the 2017 World Cup Final took place in front of a capacity crowd at Lord’s. A record international crowd saw Australia defeat India in the T20 World Cup Final in Melbourne three years later and earlier this year, Lord’s broke the record for a domestic women’s match as 17,116 watched Oval Invincibles defeat Southern Brave.
Jamie Cox, Assistant Secretary (Cricket and Operations) at MCC said: “MCC believes in cricket being a game for all and this move recognises the changing landscape of the game in modern times.”
“Use of the term “batter” is a natural evolution in our shared cricketing language and the terminology has already been adopted by many of those involved in the sport. It is the right time for this adjustment to be recognised formally and we are delighted, as the Guardians of the Laws, to announce these changes today,” he added.

China introduces laws to dig deep into private lives of Chinese people, especially students

Beijing [China]: The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has geared up its speed to dig deep into the private lives of Chinese people as the country is regularly introducing new norms telling people, especially students, how to live their lives.
The sweeping new rules dictate how much time kids can play video games, when and how students can take after-school classes, which entertainers with what type of looks people can watch on TV, and what kind of activities fans can take part in to support their celebrity idols, CNN reported. “Now with the regulations on entertainment and so on, it does feel like all the realm of choices is significantly narrowing,” said Dali Yang, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago.
Moves including limiting video game time for children have been commended by parents but several other laws including a ban on effeminate male celebs in TV and entertainment shows have drawn huge criticism on CCP.
Analysts also suggest the party’s intrusion into private life has been long in the making, following its tightening grip on virtually every other aspect of Chinese society and the economy in recent years, CNN reported.
An independent political analyst in Beijing Wu Qiang also informed such policies are a part of Xi Jinping’s effort to mould Chinese youth to accept the ‘new era’ in China.
“As Xi prepares to start his third term in power at the 20th Party Congress next year, he wants to cultivate a generation of young people that belong to him,” Wu said.
Meanwhile, Beijing is forcing not only the Chinese students but also the Tibetan students living in the autonomous body of Tibet to fall in line with China’s autocratic policies.
Chinese authorities in the autonomous body of Tibet are forcing the school-going students to undertake military training during their vacations to indoctrinate them in the ideology of China’s ruling Communist Party, Radio Free Asia reported citing Tibetan sources.
These diktats are a part of China’s plan to shape the upcoming generation of Tibetans to accept Beijing’s ways as the CCP already claims the Tibet region as China’s territory.
Beijing is also pushing students to go to government schools where they will be taught entirely in the Chinese language.
In another recent development, the Chinese government has also announced a ban on private tutoring in a bid to lighten the burden on children and parents.
But around 68 per cent of the tutoring industry in Shanghai is facilitated in the English language, and this could be a major reason behind Beijing’s move, Radio Free Asia reported.

“Govt taking decisions in farmers’ interest”

New Delhi [India]: Ever since its formation, the PM Narendra Modi-led government has been taking decisions in the interest of farmers, said BJP Kisan Morcha president Rajkumar Chahar and MP Vijay Pal Singh Tomar on Thursday.
“I want to thank PM Modi for increasing the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) which is paid on sugarcane to Rs 290 per quintal which will be based on a 10 per cent recovery. When the recovery increases beyond 10 per cent, then on every point 1 per cent rise, additional Rs 2.90 is paid per quintal. Even if a farmer has less than 9.5 per cent recovery, their Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) will be Rs 275 per quintal,” said MP Vijay Pal Singh Tomar at a press conference. Tomar further said, “During the UPA government sugarcane was imported from Brazil but when the Modi government came we imposed a 100 per cent import duty and promoted the export of sugarcane by giving incentives to the farmers and as a result, there is surplus production and a record high export of 55 lakh tonnes sugarcane was done in last year.”
When PM Modi came to power, the rate of sugarcane was Rs.2300 per quintal and payments of more than two years were pending but today out of Rs 91,000 crores, more than 85,000 crores payments have been made and the rest will be made soon and both production and payments of farmers have increased during PM Modi government,” added Tomar.
He further said, “During UPA government the production of ethanol was 38 crores litre per year but now 400 crores litre production is there and to make ethanol from the sugarcane, the Modi govt gave Rs 4500 crore package to the sugar mills as a soft loan and most of the mills have started the production of ethanol from sugarcane. More than 8 per cent ethanol is now mixed in petrol and it’s PM Modi dream to include at least 20 per cent till 2025 as it will boost the financial conditions of the sugarcane farmers and reduce India’s import of petrol and also save the environment by generating less pollution”.

Mamata Banerjee demands law for tribal land

Jhargram (West Bengal) [India]: On the occasion of International Day of Indigenous Peoples, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said the country should bring law to protect the land rights of the tribal population.


The chief minister attended the event at Jhargram to celebrate the International Day of Indigenous Peoples. Banerjee honoured prominent personalities from the tribal community. This was Banerjee’s first visit to Jangalmahal after becoming the Chief Minister for the third time.


Speaking at the event, the Chief Minister said, “Today is World Tribal Day. Today the Quit India movement was also started. The contribution of Adivasi brothers and sisters in India’s struggle for independence cannot be forgotten. I bow to them.”


Banerjee called for the protection of the rights of tribals across the country.
“Adivasi lands cannot be transferred. Our government has introduced a law on that. The entire country should bring this law to protect the rights of the tribal people. We have constituted a separate department for tribal welfare,” she stated.


“We have been celebrating Adivasi Diwas for the last 3 years. We made Jhargram a new district in 2017. A super specialty hospital, a University, four colleges, and a sports complex have been made. We respect tribal languages. West Bengal is the only state where students can study Santhali,” she added.
Mamata Banerjee also shook her feet with the tribal dancers wearing their traditional attire. She also played dhamsa, a Tribal drum and Jhumur.

SC to hear plea on sedition law

New Delhi, Jul 12 (UNI) The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on July 27 the plea challenging the Constitutional validity of sedition law.

A division bench of Justices UU Lalit and Ajay Rastogi was hearing the plea challenging Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which penalises the crime of sedition.

On April 30, the apex court had issued notice on the plea for reconsidering the 1962 Kedar Nath ruling on 124A.

The bench granted two weeks as per the request made by Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta for filing their responses in compliance with the notice issued in the previous hearing.

The plea, filed by two journalists–Kishorechandra Wangkhemcha and Kanhaiya Lal Shukla–working in Manipur and Chhattisgarh respectively, have urged the court to declare Section 124-A as unconstitutional.

The petition claimed that Section 124-A infringes the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression, guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

The petitioners claimed that they have been raising questions against their respective state governments and central government, and have been charged with sedition under Section 124A of IPC in various FIRs for comments and cartoons shared by them on the social networking website Facebook.

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