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Currency demonetization just a political posturing, Won’t help unearth black money: CPI(M)

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SHIMLA- While BJP leaders in Himachal Pradesh are all praise for Centre’s decision to demonetize Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bills and are claiming that it would unearth all the black money, curb existing counterfeit currency along with hitting fund flow to terrorist organizations, CPI(M) has claimed it just a political posturing.  CPI(M) said that decision is populist and will not yield results as being claimed by the Centre government.

In a statement issued, the CPI (M) said that the announcement made by the Prime Minister about the demonetization of the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes is not going to yield the desired result of unearthing black money. It will have limited effect and is more like political posturing.

The claim that the demonetization will check black money, fake currency, corruption and terrorism lacks substance. By the Prime Minister’s own admission, the bulk of black money generation and storage is in off-shore accounts in foreign currency. Counterfeit currency can be generated for any denomination. The announcement of a new Rs 2000 note alongwith another Rs 500 note does not in any way prevent future possible counterfeit circulation. It’s an established fact that terrorist funds flow through electronic transfers and not through currency transactions, it added.

By allowing the conversion of the existing 1000 and 500 currency notes within the prescribed time limit, no effective measure is there to prevent benami conversions. Further, transactions through plastic will continue as usual.

In effect what this would result in is a total disruption of the payments and settlements that are part of daily life of our economy. It will burden the vast mass of our people from daily wage labourers, fishermen, small businesses, traders and vendors selling at the doorstep. What is going to happen is the disruption in livelihoods and bureaucratic harassment of ordinary people who wish to change the currency notes.

The basic avenues for money laundering through Participatory notes and diversions through tax havens remains untouched. There is no attempt to curb the roots of generation of black money such as in the real estate sector.

It said that this is a measure to cover up the utter failure of the Modi government on the economic front, of joblessness, high prices and no pick-up in domestic demand, crippling all sections of our population, especially the working classes, and ruining the peasantry.

CPI(M) demanded that the government should make public forthwith the names of those holding bank deposits and accounts in tax-havens and those refusing to return humongous loans from nationalized banks estimated at over Rs 11 lakh crores, if it is really committed to recover and curb black money.

Misc News/Press Release

India’s Rank in World Press Freedom Index Drops to 140 in 2019, Report Points Out Hindutva and Nationalism Agendas

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India in world press freedom index 2019 report 2

The 2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has been released today. As a matter of huge concern in the list of 180 countries surveyed, India has dropped down to 140th position from last year’s 138.  Norway was ranked at number one.

India has been placed close to Pakistan at 142, and Bangladesh at 150.

The overall findings showed hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear. The number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media

As per the Index, threats, insults and attacks are now part of the “occupational hazards” for journalists in many countries.

“In India, where critics of Hindu nationalism are branded as “anti-Indian” in online harassment campaigns, six journalists were murdered in 2018,”

the RSF said in its Index.

Violence against journalists – including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters, and reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt politicians – is one of the most striking characteristics of the current state of press freedom in India, the report said.

As per the RSF report, at least six Indian journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2018. A number of doubts surround a seventh case. These murders highlighted the many dangers Indian journalists face, especially those working for non-English-language media outlets in rural areas.

“Attacks against journalists by supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi increased in the run-up to general elections in the spring of 2019. Those who espouse Hindutva, the ideology that gave rise to Hindu nationalism, are trying to purge all manifestations of “anti-national” thought from the national debate,”

the report said.

“The coordinated hate campaigns waged on social networks against journalists who dare to speak or write about subjects that aggravate Hindutva followers are alarming and include calls for the journalists concerned to be murdered. The campaigns are particularly virulent when the targets are women,”

the report noted.

Further, the RSF report said that the emergence of a #MeToo movement in the media in 2018 has lifted the veil on many cases of harassment and sexual assault to which women reporters have been subjected. It also said that criminal prosecutions are meanwhile often used to gag journalists critical of the authorities, with some prosecutors invoking Section 124a of the penal code, under which “sedition” is punishable by life imprisonment.

 The mere threat of such a prosecution encourages self-censorship.

Coverage of regions that the authorities regard as sensitive, such as Kashmir, continues to be very difficult. Foreign reporters are barred from Kashmir and the Internet is often disconnected there,

RSF report said.

It also suggested that when not detained, Kashmiri journalists working for local media outlets are often the targets of violence.

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Misc News/Press Release

Mohali Rape Case: Victim Reached 2 Police Stations, Still No Action Was Taken

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Himachali Girl Raped in mohali 2

Shimla-A 22-year-old girl, who is a resident of Himachal Pradesh, was allegedly raped on April 15 in a cab in Mohali. As per the victim, she was made to run from one police station to other but none of them filed an FIR. The girl had to walk back to her home. After two days, when the matter was brought to the notice of senior police officials, an SHO was suspended for inaction and an FIR was filed.

The alleged apathy of police is worrisome as it raises questions over the willingness of police to ensure the safety of women.

As per the victim, who got married two months back and is employed with a call centre in Mohali, she was on the way to her office when a cab stopped close to her. The driver inquired about an address from the victim and then offered her a lift. The woman accepted the lift. From Phase VIII, where she sat in the car, the cab driver took her to an abandoned ground near a government building in Sohana area and allegedly raped her. He threatened her of dire consequences in case she tried to scream or to raise an alarm.

The victim said the accused then took her to a road in an isolated area and tried to rape her again. However, as per the victim, she managed to distract the accused and escape. The accused sped away from the spot.

She sat in the car in Phase VIII but was raped in Sohana area. When she reached Sohana police station, SHO Daljeet Singh sent her to the police station under which Phase VIII falls. The SHOs reportedly cited jurisdictional issues as the reason for not filing her complaint. However, there is a provision of ‘Zero FIR’ that can be lodged at any police station irrespective of jurisdiction. 

Moreover, the alleged crime was committed between 9 PM to 11 PM – in broad daylight. The victim said she remained his captive for almost two hours.

A senior police official told media that the girl was unable to recall the number of the vehicle. The official assured that case has been registered and a departmental inquiry was ordered against the SHO of Sohana police station. A case was filed against the unidentified accused under Sections 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).  The police said CCTV footages from concerned areas are being collected. A sketch of the victim would also be prepared to nab the accused, the official told media.  

As the woman hailed from Himachal Pradesh, police drew criticism from people of Hill State. Several people tagged Himachal Watcher on Twitter and Facebook asking it to highlight the issue. They expressed their distress over the attitude of the police.

Now, the National Commission of Women has also issued a notice to the Director General of Police, Punjab, expressing concern over the safety of females and working of police.

A National English Daily reported that the suspended SHO belonged to Jagraon in Ludhiana, and has a controversial history.

Daljeet was recruited in police in 2000 on compassionate grounds after his father, a deputy superintendent of police with Punjab Police, was killed by terrorists. He has faced departmental inquiries earlier for not revealing his pending criminal case before joining the duty. The Daily said he enjoyed strong political patronage.

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Election Watch

Black Paint Smeared on HP BJP Chief’s Face in Posters, Congress Also Files Police Complaint

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Black Paint Smeared on Satpal Satti's Posters in Shimla

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) has filed a complaint to police for lodging an FIR against Satpal Singh Satti, President of BJP HP, for making derogatory remarks and statements against INC President Rahul Gandhi. Congress said this news was also published by various newspapers on Monday.

HPCC has already made a call for state-wide protest against Satti on April 16.

At the same time, the obscene remarks have angered the State Youth Congress. Workers of Youth Congress were smearing black paint on Satti’s face on BJP poster in Shimla as a protest. Workers can also be seen in the video writing ‘Besharm Satti’ (Shameless) on BJP posters.

The State President of Youth Congress, Manish Thakur, has made a call do the same with BJP chief’s face on posters across the State. All workers across Himachal should boycott and burn effigies of Satti in their respective constituencies, he said.

In its complaint, HPCC said that on April 14, 2019, Satpal Singh Satti was addressing a public meeting organised at Ramshaher of  Nalagarh Vidhan Sabha Assembly in District Solan. During his address, he allegedly passed derogatory remarks against Rahul Gandhiji and former UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi. These remarks were highly defamatory and against women’s dignity, Congress said in its complaint. It also alleged that the objectionable remarks used by Satti are also in gross violation of the guidelines laid down by Election Commission of India.

The unparliamentary language used by Satti while delivering the speech in this meeting tarnishes the image of AICC President Rahul Gandhi, the complaint said.

 The abusive remarks used against Sonia Gandhi are damaging the public image of a woman, who is given the utmost importance in the Social Indian setup, it said.

These remarks would tarnish the image of Congress Party in India as well as in Himachal, the complaint said.  Congress also complained that Satti has committed a criminal offence by passing derogatory remarks and has also violated the guidelines issued by Election Commission of India for smooth conduction of elections.  Some cuttings from today’s Dallies were also attached with the complaint.

Satti, as per a PTI report, refused to apologize for the remarks, and said he was merely reading contents of a comment posted by someone on social media.  Instead, he said Rahul Gandhi and Congress leaders should apologise for using ‘chor’ word for PM.

I have narrated an incident while addressing a public meeting in Nalagarh tehsil of Solan district whereby a derogatory remark was made against Rahul in retaliation of using ‘chor’ word for PM in a viral social media message,

he told PTI.

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