Farmer’s march towards Parliament from Ramlila Maidan

New Delhi, Nov 30 (PTI) : Thousands of farmers from across the country, who have been camping at the Ramlila ground here since Thursday, began their march to Parliament Street on Friday amid heavy policy deployment, to press for their demands, including debt relief and remunerative prices for their produce.


Over 3,500 police personnel have deployed on the route of the march. According to a senior police officer, special arrangements have been made in Central and New Delhi police districts.


As many as 850 police personnel, up to the rank of sub-inspectors, have been deployed in the Central district. They have been augmented by the presence of 12 police companies, including two of women, each comprising 75-80 personnel, a police official said.


In New Delhi district, 346 police personnel, up to the rank of sub-inspectors, have been deployed and 600 personnel from other districts will also help them, the official said.


Nine police companies, along with 71 officers, from the rank of inspectors up to additional DCPs, are also present.


Farmers from different parts of the country, including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh converged at the Ramlila ground on Thursday.


Traffic was disrupted in many parts of the city on Thursday as the farmers marched to the Ramlila ground in the heart of the city on four different routes, starting from Anand Vihar, Nizamuddin and Bijwasan railway stations and Sabzi Mandi.


Banded under the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), which claims to be an umbrella body of 207 organisations of farmers and agricultural workers, many farmers arrived in the city on Thursday, on trains, buses and other modes of transport.


Kamla, a functionary of the All India Kisan Sabha’s Delhi unit, said farmers from nearby areas converged at Majnu Ka Tila on the outskirts of Delhi from where they marched in groups to Ramlila Maidan on Thursday.


About 1,200 members of the National South Indian River Interlinking Agriculturalists Association reached the national capital in the early hours of Thursday carrying skulls of two of their colleagues who had committed suicide, their leader P Ayyakannu claimed.


The group from Tamil Nadu had threatened to march naked if they are not allowed to go to Parliament on Friday.They had last year staged protests at Jantar Mantar with the skulls of eight farmers who killed themselves owing to losses.


The AIKSCC has claimed that the two-day rally will be one of the largest congregations of farmers in Delhi.


Five Gurdwaras in the Delhi region have extended their help to the farmers. Also students from various universities turned out in large numbers to lend support to the farmers. The protest also saw participation of a number of women farmers who travelled from various parts of the country.


Volunteers, including doctors, lawyers, professors and artists, all came out in large numbers to help the farmers. Around 600-700 volunteers of a solidarity group ‘Nation For Farmers’ marched with the protesters from the four assembly points.


The AIKSCC was formed under the aegis of All India Kisan Sabha and other Left-affiliated farmers’ bodies in June, 2017, following protests by farmers in states such as Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh for debt relief and remunerative prices.

Baloch up the ante against China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Berlin [Germany], Aug.7 (ANI): Exiled Baloch leaders and activists will gather in Berlin, Germany, on August 11 to voice their protest against the under construction multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).


The event titled “China’s One Belt One Road Initiative – Its adverse impact on Balochistan & the region” would be organized by the European branch of Baloch National Movement (BNM), a Baloch nationalist political group.


Hammal Haider, the foreign secretary of the Baloch National Movement, said, “The purpose of the Berlin conference is to engage scholars from around the world to have a candid debate on China’s One Belt Road One Road (OBOR) initiative.


The Baloch National Movement believes OBOR and its related projects not only affect Balochistan but also other nations in the world.


“In this situation, I think, it’s high time we work with other nations and countries who also oppose OBOR / CPEC”, he said.


The BNM has invited experts, analysts, journalists, economists, civil society actors and policy makers to discuss the impact of economic corridor.


People in Balochistan, Pakistan’s resource rich province, are opposing CPEC, which runs mostly through the region. Balochistan is in the throes of a popular movement for self-determination that is gathering intensity by the day.


For the indigenous Baloch people, CPEC is seen as a threat. As CPEC gets implemented in Balochistan, there is a fear of a massive inflow of migrants from different areas of Pakistan which will change the demography of Balochistan and reduce the Baloch people to a permanent minority in their historic homeland.


Ghaffar Baloch, President of BNM Germany, told ANI, “CPEC is no way an economic project. Pakistan and China together are building a military infrastructure in Balochistan’s coastal areas. The purpose is to strengthen their military supremacy in the region which we believe will undermine the stability of the region.”


Nevertheless, Chinese footprints are on the increase in Pakistan and inroads into Balochistan is becoming increasingly visible.


In order to provide security to Chinese facilities, Pakistan is raising special security groups and intensifying army operations in Balochistan.


The number of the dead and disappeared is increasing and there is a total blackening out of information about the same in the media. Rather than bringing growth and prosperity to people of Balochistan, CPEC has become a call of death for the people in this unfortunate and forgotten corner of the world.


China came up with its One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative in 2013, and during the last four years, it has displayed its willingness to follow through on its plans.


It is gaining traction as more and more countries from around the world are joining OBOR. This was evident in the May 2017 meeting in Beijing where the Chinese President called it the “project of the century”. The OBOR is now being renamed as Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to overcome the limitations of the earlier nomenclature, “One belt one road”, because it is expected to involve many roads and many belts.


The initiative involves investment of about USD four trillion or more as it is in an ever-expanding mode and more and more countries are joining it in the hope of reaping trade and commercial dividends out of massive infrastructure bring built around Asia, Europe and Africa to facilitate flow of goods and services.


China aims to be at the centre of a massive economic transformation such grand initiative would galvanize.


The project seeks to enable a 21st century “Silk Route”, comprising both overland and maritime access routes through installation of new, as well as upgradation of existing transport and communication infrastructure in countries hoping to reap the dividends. (ANI)

People will stand up against Article 35 (A): Farooq Abdullah

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], August 7 (ANI): Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah on chaired a meeting of the opposition on Monday to deliberate the relevance of Article 35 (A), and said that the state is ready to stand up against it.


After the meeting at his residence, Abdullah said in a press conference that Article 35 (A), which provides special rights to the state, might harm the region of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.


He said that the Opposition will take up the issue with the common people and ask them for their support.


“We’ll tell people about it and raise awareness and make sure that the people stand up against it. Don’t forget the Amarnath Yatra attack, people rose overnight; this will be a far greater revolt,” he said.


Abdullah also reminded Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti about her promise to step down if 35 (A) is removed.


He added, “It’s important for people to know about it as people from other states come in to dilute our culture. The people are the masters and they should be the ones opposing it.”


Abdullah also accused the BJP and the RSS of trying to erode the autonomous structure of the state.


Apart from this, the minutes of the meeting, as revealed by a member of the Opposition, include talks on the implementation of the new Goods and Services Tax (GST), and discussions about the current situation prevailing in the Valley.


While it is perceived as a meeting to strengthen the Opposition and achieve greater consensus on these issues, the leaders are expected to discuss and opine on the latest developments in the state, in an attempt to instigate pressure on the ruling PDP-BJP government.


Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday warned against meddling with Article 35(A) of the Constitution


She said, “Any tinkering with the article will not be acceptable,” she said. “I will not hesitate in saying that nobody will even carry the corpse of the national flag in Kashmir [if the article is scrapped].”


She further said that opposing Article 35(A) would mean “weakening the forces who have accepted India”. “They make efforts to integrate Jammu and Kashmir with India with respect and dignity,” Mufti said. “You are weakening them.” (ANI)

Ahmed Patel confident of victory ahead of Gujarat RS Polls

Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India] August 7 (ANI): Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who is contesting for a Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat, on Monday said that he trusts his party MLAs commitment, adding he will definitely win the elections by defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).


“I trust my MLAs completely. Our MLAs are very committed as they did not leave even their homes on the occasion of Rakshabandhan, although we were keen to make every possible arrangement. They are not ready to go anywhere because they want to cast their votes first. I am going to win and BJP’s one candidate will lose,” Patel told media here.


He added that the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has also announced its support towards him.


“The BJP not only wants a Congress free India, but they want to remove the SC and ST reservations and wants a minority free House,” Patel said.


Meanwhile, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Monday said that it will support Congress in the Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat.


Speaking to ANI, NCP leader Majeed Memon said their party president Sharad Pawar has made it extremely loud and clear that they are going to support Congress candidate Ahmed Patel, who is contesting for a Rajya Sabha seat.


However, earlier in the day, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani expressed confidence that the BJP will win all three seats and Congress’ Ahmed Patel will lose in the upcoming Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections.


“The BJP will win three seats and Ahmed Patel will definitely lose,” he told the media here.


He further said that at a time when people are dying due to floods, the Congress MLAs are hiding in resort.


At least 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs were camping at a resort in Bengaluru since July 29 to prevent their possible poaching by the ruling BJP ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections.


“People are dying in flood and MLAs are enjoying in resort. Their (Congress) MLAs are not under their control. They don’t trust them,” he added.


All the Gujarat Congress MLAs returned back to the state earlier in the day.


All the MLAs were holed in to Bengaluru’s Eagleton Resort, after six of the Gujarat Congress MLAs quit the party and joined the BJP.


As soon as the MLAs landed at the state capital they were taken to the Neejanand Resort in Gujarat’s Anand district, located 77 km from Ahmedabad.


The Gujarat Rajya Sabha election is slated to be held tomorrow for three seats.


The BJP has fielded party president Amit Shah, Union Minister Smriti Irani and Balwantsinh Rajput against Congress’ Ahmed Patel. (ANI)

BJP’s Poonam Mahajan meets Rajinikanth, fuels ‘political entry’ speculations

New Delhi [India], Aug 7 (ANI): Fuelling speculation of Tamil superstar Rajinikanth’s possible entry into politics, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Yuva Morcha national president Poonam Mahajan visited his residence in Chennai on Sunday.


Mahajan, however, clarified that the meeting was not ‘political’ in nature.


“The meeting was personal and not political. I appreciate his work and I support him. He is in Tamil Nadu people’s heart. That is the bigger place than anything else. He is the leader of people. I respect that,” she told media.


The BJP MP tweeted, “One of the most humble couples I have ever met. Lathaji and Thalaiva @superstarrajini ji.”


The speculation is rife that actor may join politics after he hinted at it while addressing his fans during his last interaction programme.


Rajinikanth had said that the system is corrupt and needs to be cleaned up.


“God willing, if I ever decide to join politics I will do it for the welfare of people and not to make money,” he had said.(ANI)

BJP will form govt. in Tripura in 2018: Dharmendra Pradhan


Agartala (Tripura) [India] August 7 (ANI): Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday informed that the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Congress MLAs are joining the saffron party, adding that Tripura will be headed by a BJP Chief Minister in 2018.


“They are joining my party, a strengthened party in Tripura. It is very clear that next party in Tripura will be headed by a BJP Chief Minister,” Pradhan told media here.


Meanwhile, TMC MLA Sudip Roy Barman said that his party was searching for a platform from where they can give a solid fight to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM), thereby defeating and uprooting it form the government.


“We have been observing the BJP since a long time, their natural leadership and the central government. We thought for the greatest interest of the people of state that the BJP has given a platform to fight the CPM in Tripura,” he said.


“Therefore, we have preferred to join the BJP. There will be heavyweight leaders of West Bengal also joining our footsteps and within few months they will also join the BJP to dislodge the communist forces in West Bengal as well,” Barman added.


Former leader of the opposition and Congress MLA Ratan Lal Nath said that the BJP has no link with the CPM at any level and they would work together to eradicate CPM from the state.


Nath is also set to join the BJP but it may get delayed for some time due to legal issues.


Less than seven months from assembly elections in Left-dominated Tripura, the BJP is set to become the main opposition party in the state with six members of legislative assembly (MLAs) of TMC expected to formally join the BJP today.


The development is politically significant because the BJP has never won an assembly seat in Tripura, whose politics is dominated by Manik Sarkar-led CPM.


The BJP has seen a recent surge in support in the North East, after winning elections in Assam and forming governments in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, it wants to establish a strong presence in Tripura as well.


Currently, the ruling CPM has 50 seats in the assembly and its ally, the Communist Party of India (CPI) one seat. (ANI)

Will continue working with Russia, China to deal with North Korea diplomatically: U.S.

Moscow [Russia], August 6 (ANI): President Donald Trump said that United States will continue working with allies like Russia and China to diplomatically deal with North Korea on curbing Nuclear threat.


Trump has welcomed Russia and China’s cooperation with the United States for supporting economic sanctions against reclusive regime of North Korea for conducting intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests and violating the UN resolutions.


“The president appreciates China’s and Russia’s cooperation in securing passage of this resolution,” the White House said in a statement.


“[Donald Trump] will continue working with allies and partners to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea to end its threatening and destabilizing behavior.”


With 15 votes in favor, Russia and China backed the US-drafted resolution 2371 which was passed unanimously.


Ahead of the vote, Russia’s UN envoy, Vasily Nebenzya, called on Pyongyang to scrap its nuclear and missile programs and to return to a non-proliferation regime.


Moscow and Beijing had previously blocked the passage of a similar resolution, insisting that the Chinese-Russian “double freezing” initiative was the sensible solution for the region, Russia Today reported.


Apart from calling for dialogue, the Russian and Chinese envoys reiterated the need to scrap America’s THAAD deployment in South Korea, and urged Seoul and Washington to halt military drills in the peninsula.


The sanctions will slash North Korea’s annual export revenue of $3 billion by more than a third, according to a statement from the office of Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations. (ANI)

Nawaz Sharif to hold massive road show for political mileage

Lahore [Pakistan], August 6 (ANI): The PML-N has planned to hold a major two-day road show when former prime minister Nawaz Sharif returns to his hometown Lahore on Wednesday, to get the much-needed political mileage in the face of the challenges its government is facing.


The party has postponed earlier plan of Nawaz returning to Lahore on Sunday through motorway by mobilizing people from across Punjab for Nawaz ‘historic’ occasion of returning to Lahore via GT Road as the best option to show its political muscles.


Punjab Information Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman said the decision to change the programme had been taken on “public pressure”. He said Nawaz Sharif’s journey to Lahore would be completed at least in two days. “Although there are security issues in travelling on the GT Road but Nawaz is a brave leader,” he said.


The PML-N workers from across Punjab are being mobilised by the local leadership to reach Lahore and other points to welcome their leader who was disqualified by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case on July 28, to get a ‘Turkey like public reaction’, the Dawn reported.


Since the party rules in Punjab, the opposition Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf has alleged use of state machinery in a bid to make Nawaz’s return to Lahore a ‘historic’ event.


“The Punjab government is using all its resources to make the show (Nawaz’s return to Lahore) a success,” PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan said.(ANI)

ASEAN ‘central’ in security architecture of Asia-Pacific region: VK Singh

Manila [Philippines], August 6 (ANI): Addressing Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Minister of State for External Affairs V. K. Singh said that ASEAN occupies a central place in the security architecture of the Asia-Pacific region and the ability to harmonize larger interests of the world beyond it.


Singh made the opening remarks at the 15th ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Manila where Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and their counterparts from other Asian and Pacific nations will discuss security issues of the Asia Pacific region.


“From the Indian perspective, ASEAN occupies a central place in the security architecture of the Asia-Pacific region. It is our view that precisely because ASEAN represents the cultural, commercial and physical cross-roads of the region, it has a unique ability to reflect and harmonize larger interests of the world beyond it,” Singh said.


“During these 50 years, ASEAN had put behind it many of the post-decolonization debates of this region. It navigated the Cold War very adeptly to usher in an era of high economic growth that served as a model to others. Weathering the impact of the Asian financial crisis in 1997, it then went on to expand its footprint through the East Asia Summit process,” Singh further said.


“It is my privilege to be participating in this Special ASEAN India Foreign Ministers Meeting. I compliment Philippines for the excellent arrangements and hospitality extended to me and my delegation. I look forward to attending the Grand ceremony on 8th August to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Bangkok Declaration which gave rise to ASEAN,” he added.


Elaborating about the India-Philippines bilateral ties, Singh said, “On our 25th anniversary, the flower of our relationship, which spans thirty dialogue mechanisms including an annual summit and seven ministerial dialogues, is in full blossom, with the strategic, political, economic and cultural petals aglow.”


Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and their counterparts from other Asian and Pacific nations will meet in the Philippines from Sunday to Tuesday to tackle regional issues. (ANI)