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Mamata Banerjee supports Kejriwal’s sit-in at L-G office

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Kolkata | West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today came out in support of her Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, holding sit-in at the L-G’s office to press for their demands.

Banerjee also said that an elected Chief Minister should get “due respect”.

“@ArvindKejriwal, CM of Delhi is sitting in a dharna in LG’s office for the last few days in the capital city of the country. Elected CM must get due respect,” Banerjee wrote on her Twitter handle this evening.

Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia and two ministers–Gopal Rai and Satyendra Jain– had met L-G Anil Baijal on Monday evening and decided to stay put at his office till their demands, including a direction to IAS officers to end their “strike” and action against those who have struck work for “four months” were accepted.

The trio continued their dharna at the L-G’s office yesterday itself and Sisodia today began an indefinite hunger strike at the office of the Lt Governor, where Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues spent the second night, a day after Health Minister Satyendra Jain sat on a hunger strike there to press for their demands.

The AAP government’s demands to the L-G include direction to IAS officers to end their “strike”, action against those who have struck work for “four months”. It has also asked the L-G to approve the proposal for doorstep delivery of rations.

Banerjee, who shares a cordial relation with Kejriwal went on to appeal to the Centre and the L-G’s office to resolve the problem immediately for the cause of the people.

“May I appeal to the Govt of India and @LtGovDelhi to resolve the problem immediately so that people do not suffer,” she added.

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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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