The foreign minister of Bangladesh, AK Abdul Momen, on Thursday cancelled his three-day visit to India, citing other commitments. The decision came a day after he warned that the amendments could alter India’s secular character.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, assured the people of Assam that they should not be worried about the Citizenship Amendment Act after massive protests broke out in the state.
The Supreme Court, meanwhile, rejected all petitions that had sought a review of last month’s verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute.
The Supreme Court, which had last year rejected the review petitions filed by three convicts in the 2012 gangrape case, will on Tuesday hear a similar plea filed by the fourth convict. Akshay Kumar Singh, one of the four men convicted of raping a 23-year-old paramedical student in New Delhi in 2012, had not filed a review plea against the death penalty given to him so far.
India’s retail inflation rose to 5.54% in November – only the second time since July 2018 when the Reserve Bank of India’s medium-term target has been breached. The target of 4% inflation was breached in October as well, when retail prices grew 4.62%.
The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected all petitions that had sought a review of last month’s verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute, Live Law reported. The petitions were heard by a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde. The judges on the bench were the same as the ones who gave the Ayodhya verdict except Justice Sanjiv Khanna, who replaced Ranjan Gogoi, who retired as chief justice a week after the judgement.
The Congress on Thursday mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for reassuring the people of Assam that they do not have to worry about the passage of the amendments to the Citizenship Act. The amended act, which explicitly excludes Muslims from three neighbouring countries from applying for Indian citizenship, was passed in Parliament this week following lengthy debates and amid protests in the North East.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Thursday cancelled his three-day India visit, citing other commitments. The decision came a day after the Indian Parliament approved amendments to a 1955 law. On Wednesday, Momen had said the proposed amendments could weaken India’s character as a secular nation.
Janata Dal (United) Vice President Prashant Kishor on Thursday kept up his opposition to his party’s stand on the contentious amendments to the Citizenship Act of 1955. Kishor tweeted that the amendments, along with the National Register of Citizens, could turn into a “lethal combo” that the government could use to discriminate against people on the basis of their religions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday accused the Congress and its alliance partners of giving Jharkhand only “dhool, dhuan, dhokha” – dust, smoke, and cheating. Modi, who addressed an election rally in Dhanbad district, said parties such as the Congress and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha left residents in huts even as they themselves “built palaces” using the coal extracted from mines.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, even as Opposition members raised concerns about the protests going on in the North East against the amendments to the Citizenship Act, and walked out. The Rajya Sabha had passed the amendments on Wednesday evening, two days after the Lok Sabha had approved them.
The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a judicial inquiry into last week’s police encounter in Telangana in which four rape suspects were killed, Live Law reported. The court observed that there were aspects of the state government’s version that needed an independent inquiry.
The inquiry will be headed by former Supreme Court judge VS Sirpurkar, and will also comprise former Bombay High Court judge Rekha Baldota and former Central Bureau of Investigation director DR Karthikeyan. The bench, headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, gave the order after hearing two petitions seeking an independent inquiry into the encounter.
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India flagged several concerns related to the Narendra Modi government’s flagship Ujjwala scheme, mainly about the risk of diversion by beneficiaries. In a report tabled in the Parliament on Wednesday, the auditor said the scheme needs to be investigated for possible misuse by consumers.
The report found abnormally high numbers of daily refills of LPG cylinders, which it said may indicate a diversion of the benefits towards non-domestic or commercial purposes despite opting for it for domestic use.
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien on Thursday gave a zero hour notice in the Rajya Sabha to discuss an advisory by the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry to private TV channels, ANI reported. The advisory, issued on Wednesday, had asked the channels to desist from broadcasting content that could incite violence or cause law and order problems.
A first information report has been filed against 20 named and 500 unidentified students of the Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh after they allegedly protested against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, officials said on Wednesday, according to PTI. The widely opposed legislation was passed in the Rajya Sabha after a nine-hour-long debate, with 125 votes in its favour and 105 against.
The Indian Union Muslim League, a political party with significant presence in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, on Thursday moved the Supreme Court against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 passed by Parliament on Wednesday. The party has urged the Supreme Court to declare the law unconstitutional as it classifies immigrants as per religion and violates Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution as well as the basic structure of the Constitution.
National Award winning filmmaker Jahnu Barua has decided to withdraw his film from the 8th Assam State Film Awards and this year’s film festival in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill. The bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday with 125 votes in support, while 105 MPs voted against it. Lok Sabha had cleared the bill on Monday.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday alleged that Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla directed him to cancel a meeting of the Parliamentary Panel on Information and Technology while allowing other standing committees to meet. Tharoor’s committee was set to continue its discussions on the WhatsApp security breach.
The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet on Wednesday approved a draft law, which mandates that cases of sexual violence against women should be disposed of within 21 days and death penalty for ‘heinous offences of rape and gangrape’, The News Minute reported. The legislation, which is an amendment to the Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law, will be called “Andhra Pradesh Disha Act” as a tribute to the Hyderabad veterinarian who was allegedly raped and murdered on the night of November 27.
The United Kingdom High Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict on a petition by a group of Indian public sector banks, seeking a bankruptcy order against fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya, PTI reported. Mallya owes a consortium of 17 Indian banks, led by the State Bank of India, more than Rs 9,000 crore.
Judge Michael Briggs heard the arguments in the case from the two sides in the insolvency division of the High Court on the plea filed last year. The judgement is likely to be declared only next year, and the plea could either be dismissed or adjourn the case until the court’s decide Mallya’s latest settlement offer.
Assam Police on Wednesday extended the curfew in Guwahati for an indefinite period as protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill intensified, PTI reported. The contentious bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday with 125 votes in support, while 105 MPs voted against it.
A curfew was also imposed in Dibrugarh district as demonstrators vandalised Chabua and Panitola railway stations and started fires, ANI reported. Deputy Commissioner Pallav Gopal Jha said that the curfew was imposed on Wednesday night and will remain until further orders.
Voting began for the third phase of the Jharkhand Assembly elections on Thursday morning. Seventeen constituencies will vote amid tight security arrangement.
The seats where polling is being held are Kodarma, Barkatha, Barhi, Barkagaon, Ramgarh, Mandu, Hazaribag, Simaria, Dhanwar, Gomia, Bermo, Ichagarh, Silli, Khijri, Ranchi, Hatia and Kanke. Of these, the Simaria and Kanke seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste candidate while Khijri is for Scheduled Tribe.
Voting began at 7 am, and will continue till 3 pm. However, the Ranchi, Hatia, Kanke, Barkatha and Ramgarh seats will get an extra two hours.
On Wednesday, the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry issued an advisory to all private TV channels which asked them to desist from broadcasting content that could incite violence or cause law and order problems. The advisory comes in the wake of widespread, violent protests in the North East against the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
The media advisory refers to the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act of 1995 to caution TV channels from broadcasting content which is “likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order”. The advisory also extends to the broadcast of any content that “promotes anti-national attitudes and/or contains anything affecting the integrity of the nation”.
Maharashtra police officer Abdur Rahman has refused to attend office from Thursday in an act of “civil disobedience” against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was passed in both Houses of Parliament this week. Rahman is posted as the special inspector general of police in the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission.
In a tweet, Rahman wrote that the bill was “against the basic feature of the Constitution”. “I am finally quitting the service,” he said, sharing a letter he had written to the Maharashtra home department.
A popular inter-college theatre competition in Pune has barred plays on “sensitive” topics such as the Babri Masjid, Article 370, and “Hindu-Muslim” matters, PTI reported on Wednesday. The “Firodiya Karandak” contest began 45 years ago and is held every year. Its next edition will take place in February 2020.