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Kejriwal urges PM to intervene to end IAS officers’ strike

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his intervention to end the IAS officers’ “strike” claiming that Lt Governor Anil Baijal was doing “nothing” to break the impasse.

In his letter to Modi, Kejriwal cited instances when the government work was stuck as the officers have not been attending meetings with ministers for the past three months.

He said cleaning of drains before monsoon, setting up of mohalla clinics and measures to curb air pollution in Delhi are stuck because of the alleged strike by the IAS officers.

He said no meeting has taken place between IAS officers and ministers for the past three months to address the issue of air pollution, even as toxic pollutants in the air reached to dangerous levels over the past three days.

The chief minister said the Centre and the L-G have control over the IAS officers and had they been under the Delhi government, their “strike” would have ended within hours.

Kejriwal wrote to Modi on the fourth day of the sit-in he and his ministers are holding at Baijal’s office, demanding that the L-G direct the IAS officers to end their “strike” and act against those who have struck work. They also want the L-G to approve the proposal for doorstep delivery of ration.

“Due to strike, several works are being affected. As L-G is doing nothing to end IAS officers’ strike, Delhi government and the people of Delhi request you (PM) with folded hands to get the strike called off immediately so that works of Delhi can resume,” Kejriwal said in the letter.

He said the cleaning of drains should start before the monsoon, but officers have not been attending meetings due to which work is suffering. Due to the strike, setting up of new mohalla clinics and poly clinics has come to a halt, he said.

“Pollution is the biggest problem in Delhi. Earlier, there was a review and planning meeting in every 15 days on the issue, but due to strike, there has been no such meeting in the last three months,” the chief minister alleged.

Separately in a tweet, Kejriwal alleged that the L-G office did not allow his brother to meet him. “My brother came to meet me from Pune. He was not allowed to meet me. This is wrong.”

In the morning, a team of doctors conducted a health check up of Kejriwal’s deputy Manish Sisodia and health Minister Satyendar Jain at the L-G office, who are on indefinite hunger strike to press for their demands.

Kejriwal has said they will not leave the L-G office until their demands are met. The Aam Aadmi Party has threatened to stage a “dharna” at the Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday if a solution to the issue was not found this week.

According to the AAP government, officers have not been attending meetings with the ministers and not picking up their calls due to which government work for people was suffering.

However, IAS officers’ association has claimed that no officer has been on strike and no work has been affected.

The L-G’s office recently slammed Kejriwal’s sit-in, saying it was one more “dharna without reason”.

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Omar questions Army officials boasting about number of militants killed in J-K

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Srinagar | Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday questioned Army officials boasting about the number of militants killed in the state last year, saying it would have been a “great year” if no youth had joined militancy.

“I beg to differ, a great year would be one in which no young man would join militancy, no terrorists would be killed & no security personnel would lose their lives in encounters. The compulsion of killing militants/terrorists shouldn’t be treated as a cause for celebration,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

He was responding to the remarks of Northern Army Command chief Lt Gen Ranbir Singh in which he reportedly said that 2018 has been a great year for the security forces as more than 250 terrorists were killed, 54 were caught alive and four surrendered to the forces.

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Opposition rally will sound the death knell for BJP: Mamata Banerjee

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Kolkata | West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said the mega opposition rally being hosted by her Trinamool Congress on January 19 would sound the “death knell” for the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls and regional parties would be the deciding factor.

She also claimed that the BJP’s seat count in the general election will not cross more than 125.

The number of seats that the state parties will win will be much more than the BJP’s, further claimed.

“The federal parties, that is the regional parties, will be the deciding factor after the elections,” she told newsmen here.

“The rally will sound the death knell for BJP … Obviously, they (BJP) will not cross more than 125 seats,” she said in reply to a question.

Banerjee also visited the Brigade Parade grounds to check arrangements for the rally.

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20 lakh Bangladeshi Hindus to become Indians if Citizenship Bill is passed: KMSS

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Guwahati | Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), which is spearheading the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, claimed that around 20 lakh Hindu Bangladeshis would become Indians if the controversial Bill is passed.

Addressing a press conference, KMSS Adviser Akhil Gogoi slammed the BJP-led government for its attempt to get the Bill passed despite widespread protests across the North East.

“The BJP and Himanta Biswa Sarma is saying that only eight lakh Hindu Bangladeshis, who are already staying here, will get citizenship. But our assessment is that 20 lakh people are present in Assam at this moment and they will get citizenship as soon as the Bill is passed,” he added.

Elaborating on his claim, the prominent RTI activist said that a report of former Assam Governor Lt Gen S K Sinha had mentioned that over one crore people have entered India.

“When I met former Assam Assembly Deputy Speaker Dilip Kumar Paul, who is from BJP, he said around 15-20 lakh Hindu Bangladeshis are in Assam. Himanta Biswa Sarma himself had said that out of the 40 lakh excluded from the complete draft of NRC (National Register of Citizens), 22 lakh were Hindus.

“Saugata Roy had said in Parliament that 28 lakh Hindu Bengalis are excluded from NRC. So, these different figures by various sources clearly say that around 20 lakh Hindus from Bangladesh are living in Assam, not eight lakh as claimed by BJP,” Gogoi said.

He further claimed that as per Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, there are around 1.7 crore Hindus, which is 10.7 per cent of that country’s total population.

“If the Bill is passed, this will pave the ways for these 1.7 crore people in Bangladesh to come to Assam and get Indian nationality as there is no cut-off date in the Bill.

So, there is a possibility that a total of 1.9 crore people are likely to get Indian citizenship in coming years,” Gogoi said.

He claimed that if that happens, the entire demography of Assam will change irreparably.

Gogoi accused the BJP-led government for garnering votes in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls by bringing in three sensitive issues one after another.

“Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Committee on Clause-6 of Assam Accord and another committee on ST status were brought at this time only for polarising the society on communal lines for the votes. That is why we all should resist it. We will shed out blood, but will not allow the Bill to pass. We will do everything possible to stop it,” he said.

The Bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, provides for according Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document.

A large section of people and organisations in the northeast have opposed the bill saying it would nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.

Massive protests broke out across the state after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in Silchar on January 4 that the legislation would be passed as soon as possible in Parliament.

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