BJP politics ‘murdered Bharat Mata’ in Manipur: Rahul Gandhi in Lok Sabha

Updated - August 09, 2023 09:05 pm IST

Published - August 09, 2023 08:56 pm IST

In a blistering attack against the BJP over violence in Manipur, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday alleged that its politics had “murdered Bharat Mata” in the northeastern State and termed members of the ruling party “traitors”.

Participating in the no-confidence motion debate, Gandhi also slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not visiting Manipur and alleged that he does not consider the State to be part of India.

“I went to Manipur a few days ago. Our Prime Minister has not gone there, he has not gone there till now. He does not consider Manipur part of India. I used the word Manipur, but the reality is there is no Manipur left. You have divided Manipur into two parts, you have broken up Manipur,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi said he visited Manipur and met women and children at the relief camps, but the Prime Minister had not done. The Prime Minister was not in the House when Gandhi spoke. “I asked a woman, ‘What happened with you?’ She said, ‘My small son, only child, was shot before my eyes. I spent the whole night with the body of my child and then I felt afraid. I left my house’. I asked her if she had brought along something with her and she said only the clothes she wearing and a photo,” Gandhi said, narrating his experiences.

In another camp, he said he asked a woman the same question — “What happened with you?” As he did so, she started trembling and fainted. “These are the two examples. In Manipur, they [BJP] have murdered Hindustan. Their politics has not killed Manipur, but [has] killed Hindustan in Manipur. Hindustan has been murdered in Manipur.... By killing the people of Manipur you have murdered Bharat Mata, you are not desh bhakts [patriots] but desh drohis [traitors],” the former Congress chief said.

As the Treasury benches protested and slammed Gandhi, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said the Congress leader should apologise for his remarks as it is the Congress which is responsible for insurgency and other problems in the northeast.

Continuing his no-holds barred attack against the government in his over 30-minute speech, Gandhi went on to say that it is the Army that can bring peace to Manipur but the government is not deploying it. “You have murdered the voice of India, which means you have murdered Bharat Mata in Manipur... My mother is sitting here. The other mother, Bharat Mata, you killed in Manipur,” he said, pointing to Sonia Gandhi who was present in the House.

“You have sprinkled kerosene everywhere. You have set fire to Manipur. You are now trying the same thing in Haryana,” he added, referring to recent communal clashes in Gurugram and Nuh.

Gandhi alleged that the Prime Minister listens to only two people, Amit Shah and Gautam Adani, just as Ravan paid heed to only two. He did not elaborate on the point. The former Congress president also said the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ is not over and he undertook the cross-country march to understand what was it he loved and for what had he faced abuse for 10 years.

The Congress leader also thanked Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla for reinstating his membership of the House.

“The last time I spoke, I also caused you [Birla] pain. I focussed on Adani ji with such intensity, your senior leaders felt pain. That pain also affected you, for that I apologise to you,” Gandhi told Birla.

“I only spoke the truth. My BJP friends you need not be afraid because my speech today will not be focussed on us. Rumi said, ‘Jo shabd dil se aate hain woh dil mein jaate hain’. Will not attack you much.

“I walked from one end of the country to another, from the coast to the snowy mountains of Kashmir. The yatra is still not over... Many people asked me after it started, ‘Rahul why did you walk, what is your aim’.

“I did not know why I wanted to walk but I soon understood the thing that I love and the thing for which I am willing to die and go to Modi ji’s jail, the thing for which I bore abuse for 10 years, I wanted to understand,” he said.

The no-confidence motion has been brought by the Congress on behalf of the Opposition grouping ‘INDIA’. The debate was initiated on August 8 by Congress’ Gaurav Gogoi. It will conclude with the Prime Minister’s reply on August 10. Many Rajya Sabha members were in the gallery when he spoke.

Haryana violence: BJP delegation visits Nuh to meet officials; AAP team stopped

A BJP delegation arrived in Nuh on August 9 to meet administrative officials and take stock of the situation in the violence-struck district, even as a delegation by AAP was stopped on its way to the district.

The BJP delegation was led by State president Om Prakash Dhankhar. The other members of the delegation were State Co-operative Minister Dr Banwari Lal, MLA and State general secretary Mohan Lal Badauli, Sohna MLA Sanjay Singh, and State Minister Samay Singh Bhati, said police.

A seven-member delegation of Aam Aadmi Party’s Haryana unit was stopped by police just before they entered Rewasan village under Rojka Meo Police Station area.

A senior police officer said the delegation was stopped and sent back in view of the curfew imposed at the place.

The delegation was led by Haryana AAP head MP Rajya Sabha Dr Sushil Gupta with Anuradha Sharma, Manish Yadav, Mukesh Dagar, Dharmender Khatana, Dheeraj Yadav and Meenu Singh as other members, said police. “People from BJP were allowed to go, while we were stopped. We wanted to meet the victims of the riots and go to the temple and mosque. What is the BJP afraid of?” said Dr Sushil Gupta.

District Commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata said the administration had earlier made it clear that any political delegation can visit Nuh to discuss the situation with officials at the guest house.

The BJP delegation said that they wanted to meet officials, he said. But the delegations from the Congress, AAP, and the CPI wanted to go in the field and meet the people. So they were not allowed to do so, he said. On Tuesday, a 10-member delegation of Haryana Congress was stopped from entering violence-hit villages of Nuh district, police said.

Earlier on Sunday, they stopped a four-member delegation of the Communist Party of India (CPI) citing prohibitory orders.

Fabricated attempts to malign image of Assam Rifles: Army’s Spear Corps

The Army, along with the Assam Rifles, on August 8 said it will continue to remain firm and resolute in carrying out actions to prevent any attempt that could result in furthering violence in strife-torn Manipur.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the Army’s Spear Corps said there have been fabricated attempts to malign the image of the Assam Rifles, which has been engaged in restoring peace in ethnic violence-hit Manipur.

“Some inimical elements have made desperate, repeated, and failed attempts to question the role, intent, and integrity of the Central security forces, especially Assam Rifles, working relentlessly towards saving lives and restoration of peace in Manipur from May 3 onwards,” the statement said.

The Army said it needs to be understood that due to the complex nature of the situation on the ground in Manipur, occasional differences at the tactical level do occur between various security forces. However, all such misunderstandings at the functional level are immediately addressed through the joint mechanism to synergise the efforts for the restoration of peace and normalcy in Manipur.

The Army said two instances have emerged over the last 24 hours aimed at maligning the image of Assam Rifles. In the first case, the Army said, the Assam Rifles battalion has acted strictly in accordance with the mandate of the Unified Headquarters of strict enforcement of buffer zone guidelines towards the aim of preventing violence between the two communities.

In the second case, it said, the Assam Rifles being moved out of an area is not even related to them. “An infantry battalion of the Army is deployed in the area, since the crisis erupted in May, from where the narrative of Assam Rifles being moved out has been made,” it said.

“Indian Army and Assam Rifles assure the people of Manipur that we will continue to remain firm and resolute in our actions to prevent any attempt that could result in furthering violence in an already volatile atmosphere,” the statement said. Manipur Police has registered an FIR accusing the Assam Rifles of blocking their vehicle after an altercation between the two groups last week.

Listen to today’s episode of the In Focus podcast

What would it take for D Gukesh to crack the 2800 barrier in chess?

Seventeen-year-old grandmaster D Gukesh has become the highest-rated Indian player in FIDE rankings. He shot past his idol Viswanathan Anand when he defeated Azerbaijan’s Misratdin Iskandarov in the ongoing World Cup in Baku. With this victory, Gukesh’s live rating went up to 2755.9, higher than Anand’s 2754. As Gukesh climbed up to become world No. 9, Anand slipped to the 10th spot. This is a big departure as Anand has been India’s top-ranked player since 1987 – a period of 36 years.

Now Gukesh has set his sights on getting his Elo rating past the 2800 mark – a feat achieved by only 14 players in the history of the sport. To find out more about the rise of Gukesh and what it means for Indian chess, we speak with Rakesh Rao, Deputy Editor (Sports) at The Hindu.

SC judge P.K. Mishra recuses himself from hearing Umar Khalid’s bail plea in UAPA case

Supreme Court judge Justice P.K. Mishra on Wednesday withdrew from hearing a petition for bail filed by former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Umar Khalid in an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) case linked to the February 2020 Delhi riots case.

The lead judge on the Division Bench, Justice A.S. Bopanna, referred the case back to the Chief Justice of India for listing it before another Bench of the Supreme Court on August 17.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, for Khalid, has been repeatedly pointing out in court that his client has been in jail for over two years. A hearing on his plea for personal liberty should not be delayed any longer.

Khalid is accused of being part of a “larger conspiracy” behind the communal violence. The Delhi High Court had in October last year refused to grant bail to Khalid, saying he was in constant touch with other co-accused and allegations against him were prima facie true.

The High Court had said the acts of the accused prima facie qualified as “terrorist act” under the UAPA. The High Court had said the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests “metamorphosed into violent riots”, which “prima facie seemed to be orchestrated at the conspiratorial meetings”, and the statements of the witnesses indicate Khalid’s “active involvement” in the protests.

Tushar Gandhi claims police detained him ahead of Quit India Day protest march

Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, on August 9 claimed that he was detained at Santa Cruz Police Station as he was going to take part in Quit India Day protest march with activist Teesta Setalvad and others.

“For the first time in history of independent India I have been detained at Santa Cruz Police Station as I left home to commemorate 9th August Quit India Day. I am proud My Great Grandparents Bapu and Ba had also been arrested by the British Police on the historic date,” the author tweeted.

“As soon as I am permitted to leave police station I will proceed to August Kranti Maidan. Will definitely commemorate August Kranti Din and it’s martyrs,” he said.

Gandhi later tweeted that he was being allowed to go and was proceeding to August Kranti Maidan in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, Setalvad tweeted: “Police state in Maharashtra! A contingent of twenty cops stand outside my home in Juhu preventing me from participating in GG Parilhs morcha.”

Mayawati bats for caste-based census in Uttar Pradesh

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati on Wednesday pitched for a caste-based census, describing the issue as an important step towards social justice, like the implementation of Mandal Commission recommendations. She said such count was necessary to bring the poor, weak, neglected and exploited people into the mainstream by making them proper partners in the development of the country and wondered why the BJP was not ready for it.

“The issue of caste census, like the implementation of the recommendation of the Mandal Commission, is not only an important matter of politics but also of social justice,” said Mayawati.

The former four-time Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister added, “After the Patna High Court upheld the caste census being conducted by the Bihar government to make a development plan according to the correct assessment of the economic, educational and social condition of the Other Backward Classes [OBCs], all eyes are now on Uttar Pradesh, and when will this necessary assessment start,” she asked.

Mayawati termed the BJP government’s stand against caste census worrying, adding the BSP demanded for it at the State and national-level. “After the caste census in many States, the demand for conducting it in Uttar Pradesh is also gaining momentum, but the present BJP government does not seem ready for it, this is worrying,” said the BSP president, whose party enjoys considerable support among the Dalits.

Niger’s ousted president is said to be running low on food under house arrest 2 weeks after coup

Niger’s deposed president is running out of food and experiencing other increasingly dire conditions two weeks after he was ousted in a military coup and put under house arrest, an advisor told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

President Mohamed Bazoum, the West African nation’s democratically elected leader, has been held at the presidential palace in Niamey with his wife and son since mutinous soldiers moved against him on July 26.

The family is living without electricity and only has rice and canned goods left to eat, the advisor said. Bazoum remains in good health for now and will never resign, according to the advisor, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the sensitive situation with the media.

Bazoum’s political party issued a statement confirming the president’s living conditions and said the family also was without running water. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Bazoum on Tuesday about recent diplomatic efforts, a spokesman said, and Blinken “emphasised that the safety and security of President Bazoum and his family are paramount.”

This week, Niger’s new military junta took steps to entrench itself in power and rejected international efforts to mediate.

On Monday, the junta named a new prime minister, civilian economist Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine. Zeine is a former economy and finance minister who left office after a previous coup in 2010 toppled the government at the time. He later worked at the African Development Bank.

“The establishment of a government is significant and signals, at least to the population, that they have a plan in place, with support from across the government,” Aneliese Bernard, a former U.S. State Department official who specialised in African affairs and is now director of Strategic Stabilization Advisors, a risk advisory group.

The junta also refused to admit mediation teams from the United Nations, the African Union, and West African regional bloc ECOWAS, citing “evident reasons of security in this atmosphere of menace,” according to a letter seen by The Associated Press.

ECOWAS had threatened to use military force if the junta didn’t reinstate Bazoum by Sunday, a deadline that the junta ignored and which passed without action from ECOWAS. The bloc is expected to meet again Thursday to discuss the situation.

It’s been exactly two weeks since soldiers first detained Bazoum and seized power, claiming they could do a better job at protecting the nation from jihadi violence. Groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have ravaged the Sahel region, a vast expanse south of the Sahara Desert that includes part of Niger.

The coup comes as a blow to many countries in the West, which saw Niger as one of the last democratic partners in the region they could work with to beat back the extremist threat. It’s also an important supplier of uranium.

In Brief:

Rajya Sabha passes Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023

The Rajya Sabha on August 9 passed the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2023 with a voice vote. The Bill was moved by Union Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. It was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 7. Vaishnaw said that the bill laid down obligations on private and government entities around collection and processing of citizen’s data.

Kerala Assembly unanimously passes resolution to change official name of State to ‘Keralam’

Kerala’s legislative assembly on August 9 unanimously passed a resolution urging the Central government to officially change the name of the State from ‘Kerala’ to ‘Keralam.’ The Assembly has sought an amendment in the Constitution, which too refers to the State as ‘Kerala,’ in this regard. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan presented the contents of the resolution in the House under Rule 118 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Kerala Legislative Assembly.

Evening Wrap will return tomorrow.

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