Cong Asks Shah To Resign Over R-Day Delhi Violence

The Congress alleged on Wednesday that “a concerted conspiracy aided and abetted” by BJP-led government took place to malign the farmers’ movement during the tractor march by farmers and sought resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah.

Addressing a press conference here, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said a “set of people with premeditated motive of violence, who had nothing to do with the ‘Sanyukt Kisan Morcha’, were permitted to enter the premises, the sanctum sanctorum of the Red Fort, the pride of India, climb on to its columns and put a flag there.”

“This is a sacrilege. This is unacceptable,” he said.

He alleged that Delhi Police was a “mute spectator” as people entered the Red Fort and occupied its large portions.

“Delhi Police instead of booking those people, arresting those people, is actually registering false cases against the leaders of the ‘Sanyukt Kisan Morcha’,” he alleged.

Surjewala said it was “a huge, colossal security lapse” and “intelligence failure” and sought removal of Amit Shah.

He said it was second time in less than a year that the national capital has witnessed trouble.

The Congress leader asked if the Home Ministry and intelligence agencies “did not know about the open declaration over the last 24 – 48 hours by the violent and anti social elements, who segregated themselves from the farmers and expressed their desire that they are going to go up to the Red Fort”.

Surjewala alleged that the government had earlier adopted policy of “tiring out” protesting farmers and later of “dividing them” and “maligning them”.

He alleged that the government “is protecting those who indulged in arson and violence”.

Delhi witnessed violence during the tractor march by farmers on Republic Day to protest against three farm laws. The protestors violated the agreement about the route for the tractor march and entered central Delhi after forcibly removing barricades. Several policemen were injured in the violence and vehicles were damaged.

Nineteen people have been so far arrested and over 25 criminal cases registered by Delhi Police in connection with the violence, Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava said on Wednesday.

The farmers have been protesting on borders of Delhi against three new farm laws since November 26. (ANI)

Congress Leaders Provoked Farmers, Says Javadekar

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday strongly condemned the violence during the tractor parade by farmers on Republic Day and accused Congress of fuelling the protests and trying to create unrest in the country.

Addressing a press conference at BJP headquarters in New Delhi, he said that everyone who incited the violence should be punished.

He alleged that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was provoking farmers.

The minister said India will not forget “insult of Tricolour”.

“The violence that unfolded in Delhi yesterday cannot be condemned enough. Everyone who incited it should be punished. India will not forget the insult of the Tricolour. Congress has continuously fuelled farmers’ protests. There is a Congress government in Punjab. Some farmers were saying that there is a final match on January 26. Then the Punjab government should have kept a vigil on tractors and arrested habitual criminals,” Javadekar said.

“Rahul Gandhi was not only constantly supporting but also provoking. It happened during CAA as well. Congress holds rallies, they instigate people to take to streets and agitation begins the next day. It happened during this agitation too. They instigated farmers,” he added.

He alleged that the Congress government in Punjab “deliberately instigated” the farmers.

“Tweets of the Youth Congress yesterday and the organisations related to the Congress are also proof. A Congress leader wrote in a tweet yesterday – ‘A peaceful protest is being shown as a violent one’ What happened at Nangloi and other parts of Delhi was non-violent? Over 300 police personnel were injured, several of them in ICU. Was this non-violent?” he said.

Javadekar said Congress “is frustrated and disappointed” over its electoral losses.

“Similar is the condition with Communists. That is why we are looking for a new friendship relationship in West Bengal. Congress somehow wants to spread unrest in the country. This is what is left of Congress’ politics. They are worried as to what will happen to family-based politics? Thus, Congress is trying to provoke every situation into violence,” the BJP leader said.

He praised Delhi Police for displaying restraint during violence yesterday.

“They were attacked by swords and even stones were thrown, but they did not retaliate. They brought the situation under control with patience,” he said.

Delhi witnessed violence and chaotic scenes during the tractor march by farmers on Republic Day to protest against three farm laws. The protestors violated the agreement about the route for the tractor march and entered central Delhi after forcibly removing barricades. Several policemen were injured in the violence and vehicles were damaged.

Police has said 22 FIRs have been registered and 300 police personnel have been injured. (ANI)

Farmer Unions Postpone Feb 1 March To Parliament

A day after violence in Delhi during their tractor march, the farmer unions protesting against farm laws have postponed their proposed march to parliament on February 1.

The decision was announced at a joint press conference by members of Samyukt Kisan Morcha at Singhu border. The farmer unions also said their agitation against three farm laws will continue.

BKU leader Balbir S Rajewal said at the press conference that the proposed march had been postponed due to incidents in the national capital on Tuesday.

“On Martyrs’ Day, we’ll hold public rallies across India. We will also keep a one-day fast. Our March to the Parliament on February 1 stands postponed for now due to this (yesterday’s violence),” he said.

Union budget will be presented on February 1.

Rajewal, who is chief of BKU(R) also accused the central government of “planned conspiracy” to end the farmers’ protest.

“Despite attempts to break it, 99.9 per cent of farmers were peaceful. Some incidents took place. There was blockade for us, not for Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee,” he said.

Delhi witnessed violence and chaotic scenes during the tractor march by farmers on Republic Day to protest against three farm laws. The protestors violated the agreement about the route for the tractor march and entered central Delhi after forcibly removing barricades. The Police has said it will take action against those guilty of violence.

Several policemen were injured in the violence and vehicles were damaged. Delhi Police held a meeting on Wednesday to review the security situation in the national capital.

Farmers have been protesting at different borders of the national capital since November 26, 2020, against the farm laws – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. (ANI)

Police FIR Names Farmer Leaders For Delhi Violence

Delhi Police on Wednesday held 37 farmer leaders including Medha Patkar, Buta Singh, Yogendra Yadav responsible for Tuesday’s violence in the national capital during the farmers’ Republic Day tractor rally.

In another FIR, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait has been named for violating multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including Sec 307 (attempt to murder), 147 (punishment for rioting) and 353 (assault/criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), the Delhi Police said in a statement today.

In the FIR on the violence at ITO, Police mentions the sequence of the incident in which a farmer died after his tractor overturned. It mentions that the farmers were proceeding towards Central Delhi and they were constantly requested to maintain law and order.

The FIR states that the protesting farmers arrived in tractors and tried to hit police officials. The police had a close shave and left from the spot, later they got to know that the farmer succumbed to his injuries.

In the FIR filed at Samaypur Badi, police held 37 farmer leaders including Medha Patkar, Buta Singh, Yogendra Yadav among others, responsible for the Republic Day violence.

Police said that their “preplanned objective of not following the mutually agreed route and the timing of the commencement of the so-called parade’ of the protestors as disrupting the Republic Day Parade resorted to the above said acts and their gathering was also in violation of the guidelines in view of COVID 19.

“They thereby committed an offence under 47, 148, 149, 152, 186, 188, 269, 353, 332, 307, 395, 397, 120B, 34 IPC and three Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act”, the Delhi Police statement said.

The FIR mentions multiple IPC sections, including Sec 307 (attempt to murder), 147 (punishment for rioting) & 353 (assault/criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty.

Apart from Tikait, Darshan Pal, Rajinder Singh, Balbir Singh Rajewal, Buta Singh Burjgil and Joginder Singh Ugraha have been named in the FIRs for breach of NOC issued regarding farmers’ tractor rally, the Delhi Police said.

Police said that FIR mentioned multiple IPC (Indian Penal Code) sections, including Sec 307 (attempt to murder), 147 (punishment for rioting) and 353 (assault/criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty).

Delhi Police further said it has registered an FIR under IPC Sec 395 (dacoity), 397 (robbery, or dacoity, with an attempt to cause death or grievous hurt), 120 b (punishment of criminal conspiracy) and other sections, regarding yesterday’s violence at Red Fort.

A total of 22 FIRs have been filed by the Delhi Police after protestors broke barricades to enter Delhi and indulged in vandalism across several parts of the national capital during their tractor rally organised to protest against the Centre’s three new farm laws.

Several public and private properties were damaged in acts of vandalism by the rioters, where over 300 police personnel were injured.

One FIR also mentioned the incident at ITO where a farmer died after his tractor overturned.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Police said the postmortem of the farmer who died during the tractor rally in Delhi’s ITO (Income tax Office area) on Tuesday, succumbed to the antemortem injuries, and that he was not shot, as claimed by some farmers earlier.

Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. (ANI)

Ananya Gears Up For ‘Liger’ Shoot

Bollywood actor Ananya Panday is all set to start the next shoot schedule of her upcoming film ‘Liger’ co-starring Telugu actor Vijay Devarakonda.

Speaking about the shooting schedule, a source close to the ‘Khaali Peeli’ star revealed, “Ananya will be starting the next shoot schedule of Liger in the second week of February. The shoot will take place in Mumbai.”

With ‘Liger’, Ananya will make her debut in the regional cinema. In the movie, which is an out-and-out entertainer, the ‘Student Of The Year’ star will feature in a never-seen-before avatar.

Ace filmmaker Karan Johar had shared the intriguing poster of the movie, which is set to be released in five languages — Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam.

Sharing the poster on January 18, KJo, who has co-produced the project, wrote, “Presenting LIGER, starring the ruler of big screens and hearts – Vijay Deverakonda & the fiery Ananya Panday.”

The poster shows Deverakonda donning a boxer’s avatar, while the faces of a lion and a tiger can be seen in the background. Directed by Puri Jagannadh, the film will also feature Ramya Krishnan, Ronit Roy, Vishu Reddy, among others. It has been co-produced by Charmme Kaur along with the director’s production house Puri Connects.

Ananya, who had started her career with Karan’s ‘Student of the Year 2’, was last seen in ‘Khaali Peeli’ opposite Ishaan Khatter. Apart from ‘Liger’, Ananya will also be seen in Shakun Batra’s next directorial, alongside Deepika Padukone and Siddhant Chaturvedi.(ANI)

Covaxin Effective On UK Strain Of Covid Too: ICMR

By Priyanka Sharma

An Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study on Covaxin shows a comparable neutralization activity of the vaccinated individuals against UK-variant strain.

The ICMR’s National Institute of Virology scientist performed the plaque reduction neutralization test using sera collected from the 26 recipients of Bharat Biotech’s coronavirus vaccine (COVAXIN) against UK-variant strain.

“A comparable neutralization activity of the vaccinated individuals sera showed against UK-variant and the heterologous strain with similar efficiency dispel the uncertainty of possible neutralization escape,” stated document appeared in bioRxiv in a pre-print version.

“We successfully isolated and characterized the SARS-CoV-2 from UK returnees in India with all signature mutations of the UK-variant,” noted the NIV- Pune scientist.

“We present the neutralizing antibodies (Nab) titers to underline the efficacy of Covaxin vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2 UK-variant and one of the heterologous strains. Sera collected from 38 vaccine recipients, who received Covaxin vaccine-candidate in phase-II trial had equivalent NAb titers to homologous strain and two heterologous strains with the characteristic substitution of the UK-variant,” said the authors.

“The median ratio of 50 per cent neutralization of sera was found to be 0.8 and 0.9 when compared with earlier detected SARS CoV-2 strains against mutant UK strain,” they said.

“Our study evidently highlighted comparable neutralization activity of vaccinated individuals sera against variant as well as heterologous SARS-CoV-2 strains.”

“Importantly, sera from the vaccine recipients could neutralise the UK-variant strains discounting the uncertainty around potential escape. It was reassuring from the neutralizing antibodies data generated in our laboratory that the indigenous Covaxin following its rollout in the vaccination program, could be expected to work against the new UK-variant. It is unlikely that the mutation would be able to dampen the potential benefits of the vaccine in concern,” it said.

The ICMR scientist mentioned that they have reported the development of an inactivated whole-virion SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (Covaxin) which elicited remarkable neutralizing antibody response in phase I clinical trial against homologous, and two heterologous strains from the unclassified cluster.

In phase II clinical trial, the vaccine candidate showed noteworthy results with plaque reduction neutralization test. The sero-conversion rate with neutralizing antibodies following vaccination with Covaxin was 99.6 per cent.

It is pertinent to note that the rapid surge in SARS-CoV-2 cases due to the Variant of Concern (VOC) in the United Kingdom (UK) raised concerns in several countries. (ANI)

SC Declines Relief From Arrest To ‘Tandav’ Makers

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to grant interim protection from arrest to actor Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub and makers of web series ‘Tandav’ and allowed them to approach High Courts for relief from arrest or quashing of FIRs.

A Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah agreed to hear the issue of transferring and clubbing several FIRs registered against them across the country and issued notice to complainants on the prayer.

Ayyub, head of Amazon Prime Video (India), and the makers have approached the top court seeking protection from arrest on the FIRs registered against them for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and telecasting objectionable content.

During the hearing, senior advocate Fali Nariman appearing for web series makers told the Apex Court that some objectionable contents were removed and apologies were made.

“The so-called religious sentiments that hurt the people were removed,” Nariman said adding that nothing survives in the case now.

Nariman said the FIRs are lodged in different states and are being filed every day. “Ego has been hurt and we have removed the content,” he added.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for Amazon India Creative Head Aparna Purohit said how petitioners can go to every High Court as there are many FIRs in different states and urged the top court to club all the FIRs and transfer them to Mumbai.

Rohatgi added, “People get offended with anything and everything these days. The content has been deleted without any protest, scenes have been deleted. It’s a political satire. People are so sensitive in this country then 19 (1) (a) (freedoms of speech and expression) would be destroyed.”

To this, Justice MR Shah observed that the right to freedom of speech is not absolute, it’s subjected to restrictions.

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, also appearing for makers said ‘Tandav’ is an analytical serial about political and social issues and “even when there was no objectionable content, we deleted the scenes after complaints”.

“Amazon Prime and other OTT platforms are not like Doordarshan etc, it’s based on choice. When people see the series on the OTT platform, they consent to see it,” Luthra argued.

Advocate Siddharth Agarwal appearing for Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub contended that statements of the character cannot be attributed to the actor.

Justice MR Shah told Ayub’s lawyers that “When you accepted the contract you must have read the script, you can’t play the role which hurts the sentiments of others.”

Three petitions were filed separately by actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Amazon Prime creative head Aparna Purohit and another one moved jointly by the producer and director of the Over The Top (OTT) series.

‘Tandav’, a nine-episode political thriller that started streaming earlier this month on Amazon Prime OTT platform, featuring Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Ayyub, has created an uproar for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.

The petitions requested the top court that criminal proceedings initiated against them for offences including hurting religious sentiments be quashed or alternatively club all the seven FIRs registered in different states and transfer them to a court in Mumbai.

The pleas sought protection from arrest till all the FIRs are clubbed and sent to one court. It also asked that the top court should stay all the coercive action against them for the time being.

It would cause severe harassment to those associated with ‘Tandav’ to face prosecution in various states and that it would be just and fair to club all the cases at one place, preferably in Mumbai, which is the ordinary place of residence for the petitioners, the plea stated.

Three FIRs were registered in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow, Greater Noida and Shahjahanpur. Two FIRs were lodged in Madhya Pradesh while one FIR each was lodged in Karnataka and Bihar. Apart from the FIRs, at least three other criminal complaints are pending in Maharashtra, Delhi and Chandigarh respectively.

FIRs were registered for the alleged inappropriate depiction of Uttar Pradesh Police personnel, deities and adverse portrayal of a character playing the role of prime minister in the show. FIRs mention that the show portrayed Hindu deity Shiva in “a poor light” as the actor playing him on-screen was shown using foul language.

Earlier, the Bombay High Court had granted a transit pre-arrest bail to director Ali Abbas Zafar, producer Himanshu Mehra, writer Gaurav Solanki, and Purohit against whom a case was registered in Lucknow. (ANI)

Kisan Morcha Condemns Violence: ‘Miscreants Infiltrated’

Protesting farmers’ unions on Tuesday alleged that some “anti-social” elements infiltrated their “peaceful” protest on Republic Day.

In a press release, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, a conglomerate of farmers’ unions, said it condemns and regrets the violence that took place in the national capital during the farmers’ protest today.

Its statement said that despite all efforts, “some organisations and individuals have violated the route (for tractor rally) and indulged in condemnable acts.”

“Anti-social elements had infiltrated the otherwise peaceful movement. We have always held that peace is our biggest strength and that any violation would hurt the movement,” the statement said, adding that the Samyukta Kisan Morcha dissociates itself from those who have resorted to violence.

Terming the violence as “unacceptable”, the statement said, “We condemn and regret the undesirable and unacceptable events that have taken place today and dissociate ourselves from those indulging in such acts.”

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha also thanked farmers for their “unprecedented participation in today’s Farmers Republic Day Parade.”

“We thank farmers for the unprecedented participation in today’s Farmers Republic Day Parade. We also condemn and regret the undesirable and unacceptable events that have taken place today and dissociate ourselves from those indulging in such acts,” the release reads.

“We appeal strongly to everyone to stick to the route and norms of the (tractor) parade, and not indulge in any violent action or anything that taints national symbols and dignity. We appeal to everyone to desist from any such acts,” the statement said.

Farmers held a ‘tractor rally’ on today to demand the repeal of new farm laws. Protesting farmers did not follow the marked route for their tractor march on Republic Day and forcibly entered central Delhi by removing police barricades. They clashed with police and also entered the Red Fort and unfurled their flags from its ramparts.

Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. (ANI)

Protesting Farmers Put Flags On Various Spots At Red Fort

Protesters agitating against the new farm laws entered the premises of Red Fort in the national capital and waved flags they were carrying from its ramparts.

A protestor also went up the mast on the ramparts of the historic 17th century monument and raised a flag he was carrying at the place where the Tricolour is hoisted.

The protestors came to central Delhi deviating from the route which had been decided for tractor march. Violence erupted near ITO area of national capital as tractors driven by protestors tried to scare and even run over police personnel deployed in the area.

Protesting farmers reached ITO after breaking police barricades placed opposite old Delhi Police headquarters and were seen attacking police personnel and vandalising vehicles.

Several people including police personnel suffered injuries during the clash between protesting farmers and police.

Groups of farmers were also seen vandalizing public property and targeting police personnel deployed for Republic Day security.

Reports of farmers breaking barricades to enter Delhi and indulging in vandalism poured from several parts of the city. Delhi Police officials sat on the road in Nangloi to block the area where farmers holding tractor parade have reached. In view of protestors entering parts of Delhi, gates of several metro stations have been closed.

“Entry/exit gates of Samaypur Badli, Rohini Sector 18/19, Haiderpur Badli Mor, Jahangir Puri, Adarsh Nagar, Azadpur, Model Town, GTB Nagar, Vishwavidyalaya, Vidhan Sabha and Civil Lines are closed,” DMRC said in a tweet.

Entry/exit gates of all stations on the green line, Lal Quila, Indraprastha, Delhi Gate and ITO metro stations have also been closed.

Frmer leader and Spokesperson, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Rakesh Tikait said he had no information of violence by farmers.

“Rally is going on peacefully. I don’t have any informatioion of it (violence). We are at Ghazipur and are releasing the traffic here,” he said.

Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. (ANI)

Be Peaceful, Country With You: Punjab CM To Farmers

Asserting that his heart was with the farmers protesting against the central laws on the Republic Day, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday appealed to the farmers to ensure that their ‘tractor rally’ event remains peaceful.

As per the statement, Singh said that the Centre Centre had deliberately kept Punjab out of the high-powered committee, knowing that the voices of protest would rise from the state. The Chief Minister declared that farmers’ voices will continue to rise till their interests are secured.Punjab was included in the high-powered committee only after he wrote to the Centre on the issue, neither he nor his government were ever asked or consulted about the new farm laws, the state government said.

The Chief Minister appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fulfill the demands of the agitating farmers, who are sitting at Delhi’s borders for the past two months. “The farm laws are completely wrong as they are against federalism since agriculture is a state subject under Schedule 7 of the Constitution,” he said.

Unfurling the national tricolor here at Raja Bhalindra Singh sports complex, the Chief Minister recalled the contribution of Baba Saheb BR Ambedkar, who had drafted the Constitution which remains the foundation of the nation’s governance till date.Hoping that the farmers’ tractor rally today passes off as peacefully as their agitation so far has been, the Chief Minister said, “Old farmers are sitting at the borders of the national capital, not for themselves but their children and the future generations.”

“Be peaceful, and the country is with you. 122 MPs in the UK had spoken in favor of the farmers and other countries had also supported the protests as the farmers had been peaceful all along,” he added.

Protests against the Central agri laws intensified in the national capital on Tuesday as groups of farmers were seen indulging in vandalism of public property and targeting police personnel deployed for Republic Day security.Reports of farmers breaking barricades to enter Delhi and indulging in vandalism poured from several parts of the city.Protesting farmers have now reached ITO after breaking police barricades placed opposite old Delhi Police headquarters and were seen attacking police personnel and vandalising vehicles.(ANI)