TARN TARAN: Civilian Shaurya Chakra awardee Balwinder Singh Sandhu, who braved at least 42 documented attempts on his life to fight terrorism in Punjab since the heyday of militancy, was shot dead early Friday by two unidentified assailants outside his school at Bhikhiwind in Tarn Taran district.
The 62-year-old’s wife Jagdish Kaur Sandhu, also a Shaurya Chakra recipient, said her husband had been killed for opposing Referendum 2020, a campaign by a US-based secessionist group to “liberate Punjab” by this year. “It is a terrorist attack, we have no personal enmity with anyone,” she told TOI.
Chief minister Amarinder Singh set up a special investigative team (SIT) headed by the Ferozepur DIG to probe the killing and asked DGP Dinkar Gupta to ensure the culprits were quickly brought to justice.
Balwinder, who along with his family had once fought off a 200-strong band of terrorists that attacked their house with rocket launchers and other sophisticated weapons, was struck by five bullets fired from point-blank range just as he opened the gate to his school. Balwinder was declared dead on arrival at the nearest hospital.
Tarn Taran SSP DH Nimble said the police had registered a case under sections 302 and 34 (murder and common intention) of the IPC along with sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act against unknown assailants. There were no arrests till late in the night.
Sources said criminal cases were pending against Balwinder’s sons and his murder could be linked to rivalry or animosity.
Protesting AAP MLAs spend night in Punjab assembly complex
CHANDIGARH: Protesting against non supply of copies of the proposed legislation to be tabled in the special session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha against the Centre’s farm laws, 13 MLAs of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spent Monday night inside the assembly.
Earlier, on Monday, the AAP MLAs remained on sit-in inside the House till 7pm even after it was suspended for the day. Later, they were requested to move so that the assembly hall could be sanitised for the next day and the protesting MLAs moved their protest to the MLAs’ lounge outside.
The proposed bill will be tabled in the House on Tuesday and the AAP MLAs wanted a copy of the draft well in advance to study it.
Leader of opposition (LoP) Harpal Singh Cheema accused the Congress government of conspiring against the interests of farmers of Punjab by withholding important information regarding deadly Bills related to the future of Punjab, to be tabled in the House.
He said that CM Amarinder Singh, along with the then Manmohan Singh government, got a standing ovation for the alleged “bogus” water cancellation act, bringing no cheer to Punjab. The LoP alleged that the contentious laws were being introduced on similar lines by the Amarinder Singh government in cahoots with the Modi government at the centre.
The AAP leader further asked why the information was being kept a top guarded secret, adding that it should have been passed provided to the opposition and the representatives of farmers’ organizations and other agriculture legal luminaries.
CAA to be implemented soon, TMC believes in divide and rule politics: Nadda
SILIGURI: BJP national president J P Nadda on Monday said the execution of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and asserted that the law would be implemented soon.
Nadda, who was speaking at a meeting of social groups of north Bengal, accused the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal of indulging in “divide and rule politics” in the state to serve the political interests of her party – the TMC, unlike the BJP which “works for the development of all”.
“As far as the CAA is concerned, it has already been passed in parliament. All of you will get the benefits of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. We are committed to it,” Nadda said.
“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, its implementation got delayed. But as the situation is slowly improving, the work has started. The rules are now being framed and CAA will be implemented very soon. Under this act all the eligible people will definitely get Indian citizenship,” Nadda told the social groups, who included Dalits, Gorkhas, Rajbanshis and other tribes.
Various social groups of the region had requested Nadda to ensure early implementation of the CAA as there is a vast population of refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan in north Bengal.
As the local sentiment was in favour of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill which later became an act, the saffron party had made deep inroads in the region, once considered a TMC bastion, by bagging seven of the eight Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Assembly polls are due in the state in April-May next year, and the fight for power promises to be a tough one as Banerjee will seek to return as chief minister for the third straight time.
North Bengal, which comprises eight districts, accounts for 54 of the 294 assembly seats.
Indicating that the CAA would be a major poll plank of the BJP in the assembly polls, Nadda said the party is committed to its implementation.
The citizenship law had become a flashpoint in West Bengal since before its enactment in parliament in 2019 with the ruling TMC opposing the contentious legislation tooth and nail and the BJP pressing for its implementation.
According to state BJP sources, the CAA will benefit more than 1.5 crore people across the country, including over 72 lakh in the West Bengal.
Lashing out at the TMC government for its alleged “divide and rule policy” in Bengal, Nadda said only the BJP under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi can take everybody along as he believes in the policy of “development for all”.
“On one hand you have Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji who works for the development for all and on the other hand, you have West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who has employed the policy of divide and rule to serve TMC’s political interests,” he said.
“Our philosophy is to take everyone along, but the philosophy of TMC divides the society and that party indulges in the politics of vote bank during the elections,” he said.
Continuing his attack on the TMC, which has often been a harsh critic of the saffron party, the BJP president accused it of pursuing “appeasement” policies and indulging in vote bank politics.
“Mamta Banerjee government has deeply hurt and humiliated the Hindu community in the state. As elections are approaching, the TMC sensing a backlash has changed its tune and is now trying to lure people with all sorts of things,” he said.
The only thing that the TMC does is to indulge in the politics of vote bank, whereas the BJP only indulges in the politics of serving every citizen, he said.
Nadda assailed the TMC government for not joining several central schemes, including Ayushman Bharat and PM Kisan Samman Nidhhi which he said were meant for the poor and farmers.
Stating that 76 lakh farmers of West Bengal are being deprived of government help under Kisan Samman Nidhhi because Banerjee did not allow its implementation, he said, “Mamata Ji stop doing politics with the rights of poor people. The day BJP forms government in Bengal within moments, we will implement the Ayushman Bharat scheme and PM Kisan Samman Nidhhi in the state”.
Nadda thanked the Gorkha groups for their continued support to the BJP and said the party is committed to the “permanent political solution” to the problems of the Darjeeling hills and the demand for the recognition of 11 scheduled tribes of the Gorkha community.
“Their empowerment is our responsibility. Both the issues are there in our manifesto (2019 Lok Sabha polls). We are committed to it,” he said.
Reaching out to the tea garden labourers in north Bengal, Nadda said the BJP government at the Centre had abolished the Plantation Labour Act and have been brought under the Minimum Wages Act.
Nadda also urged the BJP MPs from the state to make a list of all the local products in the state and formulate a scheme and a roadmap for their expansion. The Centre will brand and market these local products all across the world, he said.
He exuded confidence that the BJP will form the next government in West Bengal as the people there were fed up with the “violence and corruption” culture of the TMC.
Condoling the death of BJP MLA Devendra Nath Roy, who was found hanging near his house in North Dinajpur district, Nadda asserted that the party will take the matter to its logical conclusion as per the law and under the guidance of democracy.
This Diwali an alternative to earthen diyas – one prepared with cow dung
JAIPUR: This Diwali, you can try a different kind of diya, besides the traditional earthen lamps. You can try out designer diyas made of cow dung, decorated without any harmful colour or adornments.
A group of woman, who work in a cowshed in Rajasthan, have come forward to prepare diyas with cow dung, which is not just eco-friendly, but will also “promote Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s Vocal for Local initiative”.
“Cow dung is believed to be pure in our tradition. Over 100 women are making 1,000 pieces of diyas each day,” Sangita Guar, a worker in the cow shelter, told ANI.
“We feel happy about using local products to celebrate our festivals,” Pinki, another worker, said.
Dr Atul, the cowshed owner, said that India is dependent on China for products like these to celebrate “our festivals”.
“So we have taken this initiative to produce organic earthen lamps, where thousands of women could be employed in the state. It will bring an alternate source of income to the cowsheds as well. It is eco-friendly and promotes the vision of “Vocal for Local” as well,” he added.
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