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Swati Maliwal alleges threats following campaign by AAP leaders, YouTuber Dhruv Rathee

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) AAP Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal on Sunday said that she has been receiving rape and death threats after a “character assassination” campaign allegedly orchestrated by party leaders and volunteers.

She said that the situation escalated after the YouTuber Dhruv Rathee posted a one-sided video against her.

“After the leaders and volunteers of my party, i.e., AAP orchestrated a campaign of character assassination, victim shaming, and fanning of emotions against me, I have been getting rape and death threats. This got further exacerbated when YouTuber @Dhruv_Rathee posted a one-sided video against me,” Maliwal wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday.

Maliwal accused the party leadership of trying to intimidate her into withdrawing her complaint. She also expressed disappointment with Dhruv Rathee, saying that despite her efforts to contact him and share her side of the story, he ignored her calls and messages.

“It is shameful that people like him, who claim to be independent journalists, could act like other AAP spokespersons and victim-shame me to the extent that I am now facing extreme abuses and threats,” she added.

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Maliwal listed several points that she felt were neglected in Dhruv Rathee’s 2.5-minute video:

She said Rathee failed to mention: why the AAP took a U-turn after accepting that the incident happened; the ⁠MLC report that reveals injuries due to the assault; selected part of the video was released and then the phone of the accused was formatted; the accused was arrested from the crime scene (CM house). Why was he allowed to enter the place again? For tampering of evidence?; and how a woman who always stood for the right issues, even went to Manipur alone without security could be bought over by the BJP?

“The manner in which the entire party machinery and its supporters have attempted to vilify and shame me speaks volumes about their stand on women’s issues. I am reporting these rape and death threats to @DelhiPolice. I hope they take strong action against the perpetrators,” Maliwal said.

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She concluded by noting, “In any case, if something happens to me, we know who instigated it.”

Bibhav Kumar was arrested on May 18 in connection with the assault on Maliwal at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence on May 13.

Kumar, a former PS to Kejriwal, on Saturday moved local court seeking bail. The court has issued notice to Delhi Police and sought its reply.

–IANS

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Bengal LoP requests Governor to ensure retention of CAPF till Durga Puja

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Kolkata, June 16 (IANS) The Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari on Sunday requested Governor C.V. Ananda Bose to initiate the process for retention of 400 companies of central armed police forces (CAPF), already in the state, till the Durga Puja in October in wake of the post-poll violence that has broken out in different pockets since the counting for the Lok Sabha polls on June 4.

Adhikari made this request after meeting the Governor at Raj Bhavan, along with a group of victims of post-poll violence.

The Governor told Adhikari that he would do whatever was necessary to arrest such instances of post-poll violence in the state.

Later speaking to the media persons the Governor said that he promises in the names of all great men born in West Bengal that he will go to the extreme in this matter.

Quoting a recent order of the Calcutta High Court, the Governor said that it seemed that he was under house arrest.

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“Those who are victims of post-poll violence were not earlier allowed to meet the Governor,” he said.

He also said that he has received a total of 1,025 complaints related to post-poll violence.

Adhikari told media persons that he has informed the Governor that the pillars of democracy are under attack in West Bengal. “The ration cards of around 5,000 individuals in the state have been snatched away,” he alleged.

–IANS

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Manipur Governor apprises President about prevailing situation in the state

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New Delhi/Imphal, June 16 (IANS) Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey on Sunday called on President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan and discussed the situation in the state, officials said adding that the President assured to extend all possible support.

Manipur Raj Bhawan sources said that the Governor apprised the President about the hardships faced by the displaced persons sheltered in various relief camps in the state, and requested immediate action for the resettlement of the displaced people in their respective villages.

“The Governor also requested the President to provide financial assistance for the displaced people in the state,” a source said.

She also invited the President to attend the Convocation Ceremony of the Manipur University.

Giving a patient hearing to the Governor, the President assured to extend all possible assistance to the state, the sources added.

The Governor also met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at Rashtrapati Bhavan and requested financial assistance to Manipur.

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In view of the ethnic strife in Manipur since May 3 last year, over 50,000 men, women and children belonging to different communities have been displaced and are now sheltered in 350 camps set up in schools, government buildings, and auditoriums in Manipur.

–IANS

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Has Agnipath Scheme been relaunched? Govt says fake WhatsApp message doing rounds

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) The government on Sunday dismissed reports that the Agnipath Scheme has been relaunched, terming the social media message fake and clarifying no such decision to this effect was taken.

“A #fake WhatsApp message claims that the Agnipath Scheme has been re-launched as ‘Sainik Saman Scheme’ after review with several changes including duty period being extended to 7 years, 60 per cent permanent staff & increased income… GOI has taken no such decision,” the Press Information Bureau clarified on its X handle.

The fake message doing rounds contained a number of spelling mistakes, making it appear questionable.

The opposition, which has been critical of the Agnipath Scheme from the outset, aggressively questioned its credibility during the Lok Sabha polls campaign with the Congress ‘promising’ to do away with the scheme if voted to power at the Centre.

The Agnipath Scheme is a “tour of duty style” scheme that was implemented in September 2022 for the recruitment of soldiers below the rank of commissioned officers into the three services of the armed forces only for a four-year period.

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Personnel recruited under this system would be called Agniveers.

–IANS

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'No consultation': Kharge slams relocation of Mahatma, Dr Ambedkar statues in Parliament complex

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday slammed the government for “arbitrarily” removing the statues of many great leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, from their prominent places in the Parliament House Complex and their relocation “to a separate corner”.

He termed the action, taken without any consultation, as violative of the “basic spirit of our democracy”.

“The statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar were situated in prominent locations and of other major leaders at appropriate locations after due deliberation and consideration. Each statue and its location across the Parliament House complex holds immense value and significance.”

“The statue of Mahatma Gandhi in a meditative posture located right in front of old Parliament Building held immense significance for India’s democratic polity. Members paid their respects at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi imbibing within themselves the spirit of Mahatma. It is at this place that Members often conducted peaceful and democratic protests, drawing strength from their presence,” he said in a statement.

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“The statue of D. Babasaheb Ambedkar too had been placed at a vantage point conveying the powerful message that Babasaheb is extolling the generations of parliamentarians to steadfastly hold on to values and principles enshrined in the Constitution of India. Incidentally, during my student days in mid-60s, I was in the forefront demanding for installation of statue of Babasaheb in the precincts of the Parliament House,” Kharge noted.

“Such concerted efforts eventually resulted in installing of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s statue at the place where it was hitherto before placed. The prior placement of Babasaheb statue also facilitated seamless movement of people paying their tributes to him on his birth and death anniversaries,” the Congress chief said, adding that “all this has now been brought to a naught in arbitrary and unilateral manner”.

He noted that there is a dedicated Committee called the “Committee on the Installation of Portraits and Statues of National Leaders and Parliamentarians in the Parliament House Complex,” which includes MPs from both Houses, but this had not been reconstituted since 2019.

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“Such decisions made without any proper discussion and deliberation with relevant stakeholders are against the rules and traditions of our Parliament,” he said.

The Congress President’s reaction came as Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, who is also the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, inaugurated the newly constructed Prerna Sthal at the Parliament House Complex, where all the statues of eminent Indian leaders and freedom fighters, previously dispersed across different places in the Parliament House complex, have been brought at one place.

–IANS

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EVM row: Silicon Valley's bigtech billionaires should not meddle in India's democracy, says Milind Deora

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Mumbai, June 16 (IANS) Amid raging controversy over Tesla and X boss Elon Musk’s “EVM can be hacked” claim, Shiv Sena MP and former Union Minister Milind Deora on Sunday said Silicon Valley’s bigtech billionaires should not meddle in India’s democracy.

In a post on X, Milind Deora said: “I’m a fan of @elonmusk as an innovator, but not of Silicon Valley’s #BigTech billionaires meddling in India’s democracy. Still, I asked #ChatGPT — co-founded & funded by Musk — about EVMs.

He also added ChatGPT’s take in this regard.

The ‘conversation’ reads like: “Do India’s EVMs use a SIM card?” Replying to Deora’s question, the chatbot answered: “No, India’s Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) do not use SIM cards. They are standalone devices that are not connected to any network, making them immune to remote hacking. The design and function ability of EVMs ensure that they operate independently without the need for any external connectivity, which enhances their security and reliability in conducting elections.”

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Deora’s observations on the matter came after opposition parties including Congress, Samajwadi Party, Shiv Sena UBT raised concerns over the reliability of EVMs.

–IANS

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