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Doosra Pehlu

U.K Elections: Impact on India – The wrong path taken

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Modi May

The British Prime Minister Theresa May has lost her muscle by having elections 3 years before time giving the power to rival Jeremy Corbyn to prove his dominance. The general elections have restored the labour party as an electoral force which has disabled May’s authority.

May in is no hurry to resign and is trying to form a minority government with the help of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party(DUP). Seeking confidence and supply arrangement with the DUP – a looser arrangement than a formal coalition, which would lead to the Northern Irish party backing the Conservatives. She has taken a wrong call by thinking that a snap election will strengthen her conservative party numbers giving a boost in U.k’s exit from the European Union. Instead, she lost all her majority in parliament two weeks before Brexit negotiations could take place. The Conservatives are still the largest party with 318 seats which is 8 short of the majority. Many backbenchers have blamed May for the party’s poor performance at the polls, one senior Conservative said she would have to give a “barnstorming” performance at the meeting of the party’s 1922 committee of MPs to hold on to her job.

The prime minister is expected to signal to her parliamentary colleagues that she will run her government in a more collegiate, less controlling way, after sacrificing her two closest advisers, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy. If she survives, May is likely to have to ditch the controversial manifesto policies in order to secure the backing of the House of Commons and present a stripped-down programme for government, focusing on implementing Brexit and avoiding potential flashpoints.

The election saw a high turnout of people, unlike last time where some people didn’t even come to vote. Looks like these people took revenge. These are the people who were hard hit by Brexit and are living their worst nightmare. This is the reason why May looks forward towards a lenient Brexit.

Membership of single market and customs union which was ruled out is back in agenda. She wanted to marginalize the parliament in the Brexit process, but such did not happen where the parliament has blocked the single market and customs union.The game played here is between hard and soft Brexit. Although May has failed to implement hard Brexit, so her MP’s want a softer Brexit which would curve the mind of the people.

The European Union wants Britain to have a sturdy government and move on from the topic of Brexit which seems to be not happening. If the country starts elections on a fresh note then the 2019 deadline by the EU will have to be moved forward. This would only cause stress among the people. Presently there is no government to talk the EU causing a threat for having “no deal” between the two. With no other road to take, Britain would have to resort to world trade organization tariffs.

For the first time, there are 12 Indians as MP”s that have made to the parliament out of which two are first-timers. International development secretary Priti Patel has retained her seat, whereas Agra-born Alok Sharma 49, former minister for Asia-Pacific has clung to reading West winning a tight race with the labour party. Also, Rishi Sunak (37) co-founder R Narayan Murthy has won in Yorkshire with a very big margin.

Most Incredible is of four MP”s hailing from Jalandhar becoming a part of the British parliament. Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi became the first Turbaned Sikh to enter the parliament followed by Preet Kaur Gill becoming the first woman to do so, all from the labour party.

U.K is under confusion and so is India. It has hastened New Delhi’s imperative to separate its Europe policy from its U.K policy. India will be watching closely because it will affect the close relation with U.K post-Brexit. May has made an effort to engage India and British relations. But not in a way David Cameron did. We would still want Theresa May rather than Jeremy Corbyn as the prime minister of UK. As he had once said about India’s Kashmir dispute with Pakistan needs to be solved mutually or in accordance with people of Kashmir. Here India would never want a third party to intrude into its internal matters.

Plunging a hard Brexit would put Indian’s and Europeans on a bad playing field as far as entry into the UK is concerned. Other concerns are with economics and trade with India and thus cannot actually sign a FTA with the UK until the Brexit terms are clear. However, India has launched an audit on the trade issues with the UK which is an internal exercise.

Many pro-Brexit MPs are supporting May, fearing an alternative leader might take a less robust approach when divorce talks with the other 27 EU states begin.

Cameron visited India three times as a Prime Minister and invited Modi to the UK, who addressed 60,000 Indians at Wembley Stadium, London, during his November 2015 visit. What was significant was PM Cameron’s closeness with PM Modi—a bond that seemed unbreakable and unparalleled. But the same is not felt with May. Ironically, what actually started was a sort of a ‘one-way’ relationship where Britain expected better defense deals and stronger bilateral ties with India, and nobody addressed the Tiger in the room—the subject of “immigration”.

The Labour party, on the other hand, has sought to focus on comments by Prime Minister Theresa May in Philadelphia earlier this year when she pointed to the rise of China and India, and fears of the eclipse of the West.

On one hand, a hard Brexit, and a clean break from the EU is making trade relations with India and other fast-growing countries more important for Britain, but it has also lessened India’s interest in closer ties with Britain, given its former role as “Gateway to Europe”.

While there may be differences between the parties, India is confident its relations with U.K. We have worked with both parties and have always had good relations with both says Dinesh Patnaik, the Deputy High Commissioner for India. Both the parties cannot do without India.

Tories from Cameron’s time have been harping on reducing immigration by hundreds and thousands. When Theresa May was the Home Secretary in Cameron’s cabinet, she ensured that foreign students should get added to the final figure of immigration. She also shut down the post-study work (PSW) visa arrangement, that allowed foreign students including Indians to live in the UK, two years after their degree finished, to gain relevant work experience. So as it stands, if Indians have to work in the UK now, either they have to qualify for graduate scheme when they finish their degree, or they have to be offered a job by a company that has a sponsor license to recruit foreigners, as well as willing to pay £2,000 per candidate to the Home Office. The candidate also cannot be earning less than the minimum requirement by the Home Office, more if they wished to bring their dependents over to the UK.

When Theresa May visited India in November 2016, besides announcing the UK-India Year of Culture, immigration was indeed a point of discussion. May did not change her stance, and even in the Tory manifesto, it was very clear that she remained firm on her decision to reduce immigration by hundreds and thousands—including that from India. It seems that Indians would not be welcomed to the UK like before, unless they are extremely rich, are sought after for talents or with businesses willing to invest.

May’s decisions also affected the case of Adult Dependent Relatives (ADR), where Indians settled in the UK, in given circumstances, hoped to bring over their elderly parents to live with them. Refused on a number of grounds, it proved that vulnerable and lonely parents could not join their children for more than six months (as tourists)—may how strong their children’s financial status is. There are so many well-to-do Indians living in the UK, who earn almost £200,000 per annum. They are more than capable of supporting their elderly parents living with them and pay higher taxes in the UK. This government is trying to divide the society.

May is still the better choice for 800-odd Indian companies that have established their businesses in the UK not only to tap its large and prosperous market but also to serve as a bridgehead to the economic colossus that lies across the English Channel.

A few selected minds are gifted with a dream of writing and only a few words can describe their whole world. A writer by the day and a philosopher by the night. I believe that tactfulness and fearless approach is a writer USP. An aspiring journalist, foodie and an automobile enthusiast.

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Doosra Pehlu

All About The Bhainsa Riots

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Bhainsa Riots Expainer | News Aur Chai

Communal riots broke out in the town of Bhainsa in Telangana after altercations between Hindu and Muslim youth-led to stone pelting on March 7, 2021. Thirty-eight people have been arrested in connection with these riots, the majority being members of the right-wing nationalist organization Hindu Vahini. The police are on the lookout for 70 more people whose parts in the riots have been established.

What Happened In Bhainsa

Two, two-wheeler bourne youths named Thoth Mahesh and Dattu Patel attacked a Rizwan in Zulfiqar Gali. Rizwan and his friends went looking for the two attackers in Batli Gali. There they were beaten up by Mahesh and Dattu and their friends. Stone pelting followed between people of the two communities after one of the friends of Mahesh and Dattu again went to Zulfiqar Gali to buy alcohol and picked up a fight with members of the other community. A constable who tried to intervene and stop the fight sustained head injuries. Section 144 was imposed in the riot-affected areas.

Y. Nagi Reddy, the inspector general of the north zone, has said that 26 cases have been registered about the violence. The 38 people that have been arrested also include four minors. Twelve people, three of which were police officers, were injured in the stone-pelting. Four houses, thirteen shops, four rickshaws, six cars, and five two-wheelers were set on fire riots.

IGP Reddy said, “People belonging to one group were informed, gathered, and were sent to places under the guidance of Abdul Khabeer alias Baba, AIMIM party’s Counsellor from 15th ward.” He added, “The second group was led by Thota Vijay, Counsellor from 8th Ward and ex-president of Hindu Vahini. Some of the arsons committed on the second and the third day and night…..were led by Santhosh, who is the district president of Hindu Vahini.” He also clarified that the investigation was being conducted in an unbiased manner and that the instigators were identified using CCTV footage and Nenusaitham initiative geotagged cameras.

The Other Side Of The Story

Bandi Sanjay Kumar, the state BJP chief, alleged that the police were torturing Hindu Vahini members. He said that the party would complain to the central government against the state police’s third-degree interrogation methods. He also wrote to Telangana’s governor accusing Muslim “infiltrators” from Maharashtra of causing communal tensions in Bhainsa.

“AIMIM leader Mohammad Jabir Ahmed is the cause for communal violence in Bhainsa. They have been involved in land grabbing for a time now and when the local Hindus…… have been spreading the news via social media, communal violence has begun,” BJP MP Dharmapuri Arvind told news agency Asian News International.

The official spokesperson of the ruling TRS Krishank pushed back criticism of the State Government by saying, “Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has always been very serious against the communal violence in the state.” He assured action against the riot perpetrators and said, “Strict action will be taken against the people resorting to communal violence in the state and also those who are spreading rumours across social media and are creating disturbances in the society.”

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Why is Nodeep Kaur Making Headlines?

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Nodeep Kaur | News Aur Chai

Nodeep Kaur is a 23-year-old Dalit Labour Rights Activist from Punjab. She is a member of the Mazdoor Adhikar Sanghatan, an organization based in the Kundli Industrial Area of Haryana which works for workers’ rights. She was involved in a protest with labourers at Kundli, on the border of Haryana and Delhi. The protest was about demanding higher wages for workers. It was also in solidarity with the ongoing farmers’ protests against the new farm laws. She was arrested on January 12. A string of charges was made against her following her arrest, including Section 307 (Attempted Murder). Her sister Rajveer Kaur alleged that the police have tortured and sexually abused Nodeep.

Her Background

Nodeep Kaur comes from a Dalit family from Gandera Village in the Sri Muktsar Sahib district of Punjab. Her family is one of the activists, her parents are associated with a farmer’s union, and her sister is a member of the Bhagat Singh Chhatra Ekta Manch. After the lockdown restrictions eased, she started working at a factory in Sonipat, Haryana. She also joined the Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan around this time.

In a video shared by Canadian Poet Rupi Kaur, Nodeep Kaur can talk about Farmer-Labourer Unity. She speaks in support of the farmers’ protests and says that it is not a sole cause, and everyone needs to come out in support of the farmers.

Why Was She Arrested?

Nodeep is a dedicated Labour rights activist. She was involved in a protest, and her associates at the Kundli border demanding higher wages for workers. The protest coincided with the ongoing farmers’ protests and was in solidarity with them. On January 12, a team of Sonipat Police went to the Kundli Industrial Area (KIA), acting on the information of alleged manhandling of management and the staff of a unit and extorting money from them. The police said Kaur and her associates attacked police with sticks and injured seven personnel. Her associates managed to flee, but she got arrested following the incident. She was produced before the court and sent to jail the same day.

The police say they did not seek remand. Sonipat Superintendent of Police said there were prior complaints of extortion against Nodeep Kaur, and a case was registered on December 28 2020. A slew of charges was pressed against her, including Murder, Extortion, Theft, Rioting, Unlawful Assembly, Extortion and Criminal Intimidation and other offences under Sections 148, 149, 332, 353, 186, 384, 379-b, 307. She was sent to the Karnal Jail in Haryana following her arrest.

Allegations Of Sexual Abuse And Torture In Custody

Rajveer, Nodeep’s older sister, visited her in Karnal Jail after her arrest. There, Nodeep told her of the alleged assault by police in Custody. She has alleged that there were no women police officers, and she was taken aside by male cops and beaten black and blue. Rajveer said that she was beaten publicly by male officers, dragged by her hair to the police van. She also said that Nodeep was beaten with sticks and shoes, including her private parts, which caused heavy bleeding. There are also allegations of sexual abuse by male police personnel.

The police vehemently deny these allegations and said that she was kept in the ladies’ waiting room and was accompanied by two female police officers for the entire duration of her stay.

Nodeep claims no medical examination was conducted following her arrest, violating Section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code. She also claimed that she was made to sign blank papers in Custody. On the contrary, police say that she was taken to the civil hospital to undergo a general medical examination and special medical examination for sexual assault by a lady doctor. But Nodeep did not undergo a medical examination, and she gave a written statement to the doctor stating that she did not want to be examined since she wasn’t assaulted. Denying these allegations, the police said that Kaur did not speak about any assault in front of the magistrate. They called these allegations “an afterthought”.

Her advocate Arshdeep Singh Cheema questioned the statement and asked why the police made two separate requests for medical examinations in the first place.

On January 15, she applied for a medical examination before the magistrate. The magistrate ordered the examination had to be done on January 18. However, her medical examination happened only on January 25, 13 days after her arrest. Cheema claimed that this delay was done to allow her injuries to heal. The medical report later produced before the court pointed out that she did have purplish bruises on her body caused by blunt objects or weapons. Cheema said that these were indicative of the torture she was subjected to by the police.

International Attention For The Case

This case received very little attention before February 6. It was brought to the spotlight by Meena Harris, niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris.

Her tweet came in response to the hate she received from Right Wing Hindutva elements alongside American and Canadian celebrities like Rihanna, Mia Khalifa and Rupi Kaur for speaking in support of the farmer’s protests.

Rajveer expressed her disappointment in the media about the little coverage it got before Harris’s tweet. Following sustained international recognition, many people domestically started speaking actively about the case and demanding Nodeep Kaur and other jailed activists’ release.

Progression Of Court Proceedings

Three First Information Reports (FIRs) were filed against Kaur, FIR numbers 26, 649 and 25. On February 2, a local court denied her bail application. However, the Government authorities were quick to act after international and domestic furore about her arrest picked up post-February 6. On February 8, the Punjab State Commission for Scheduled Castes asked the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) to provide relief.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court took suo motu cognizance of Kaur’s illegal confinement and alleged police torture on February 12 after receiving complaints of the same via email on 6th and 8th February. The court posted this matter to be heard on February 24 (also the initial date of Kaur’s third bail plea hearing).

On February 12, she got bail on one of the cases, FIR no. 649, which dealt with rioting and other charges. On February 15, she got bail on the second case, FIR no. 26, which dealt with extortion. Her third and final bail application for the case registered under FIR no. 25, which dealt with murder and other charges, was filed on February 15. It was supposed to be heard on February 24, but the court adjourned the case after finding that the state’s medical records were not put on record. The matter was heard finally on Friday, February 26, where she finally got bail.

Justice Avneesh Jhingan also heard the suo motu matter along with the bail plea. This matter will now be discussed in April. Now that Kaur has received bail in all three cases, she got released from jail.

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Julian Assange’s Extradition Rejected by UK Court

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Julian Assange Wikileaks News Aur Chai

On January 4, the UK Court ruled that the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should not be extradited to the United States of America to face criminal charges including breaking a spy law, as his present mental health complications suggest the risk of suicide attempt.

However, USA has stated that it would pursue the extradition and US prosecutors are ready to appeal the decision to London’s High Court.

Who is Julian Assange?

The 49-year-old Australian-born Assange has been accused of 18 offences regarding the release by WikiLeaks of a wide range of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables that may endanger the safety of lives. Assange, who spent a significant part of the last decade either in prison or self-imposed confinement, has been denied bail and remains in jail.

The US Justice Department claims that it has won on all the legal points, including political motivation and freedom of speech-related arguments, and thus, it would continue to seek Assange’s extradition.

USA’s government take:

The Obama administration did not prosecute Assange due to concerns about the precedent the case could set in free speech and journalism. Assange’s legal team has held the outgoing US President Donald Trump responsible for pressuring the concerning launch of the US effort for extradition, which could cause a grave threat to press freedom.

However, the White House has not issued any immediate comment on the ruling and Trump administration has given mixed messages. In contrast, the President-elect Joe Biden’s side has refrained from commenting.

Trump had shown his approval to WikiLeaks shortly before the 2016 presidential election for releasing hacked emails which landed his opponent Hillary Clinton in an embarrassing position. However, after Trump took office, his first CIA director Mike Pompeo stated that WikiLeaks was “a non-state hostile intelligence service”.

Ruling of UK Judge and further deteriorating condition of Julian:

Judge Vanessa Baraitser said that her judgment was based only on the possibility of Assange attempting suicide if kept in a US maximum security jail as he suffered from severe depression at intervals and had been diagnosed with autism.

In May 2019, half a razor blade had been discovered in his London jail cell. Assange also told the medical staff that he was having suicidal thoughts and making plans for the same. Baraitser also said that Assange made regular calls to the Samaritans suicide-prevention charity from prison.
According to Baraitser, “I find that Mr Assange’s risk of committing suicide, if an extradition order were to be made, to be substantial. The overall impression is of a depressed and sometimes despairing man, who is genuinely fearful about his future.”

For Assange’s supporters, the ruling was a victory, but the threat of extradition still looms large over his head. His partner Stella Moris said, “I call on the President of the United States to end this now: Mr President, tear down these prison walls, let our little boys have their father. Free Julian, free the press, free us all.”

People in support considers Julian as “Hero”:

Assange supporters consider him to be an anti-establishment hero, a victim for exposing US wrongdoings in Afghanistan and Iraq. Supporters claim his prosecution is to be a politically motivated assault on the press and freedom of speech.

However, the US prosecutors and Western security officials regard him to be a dangerous enemy of the state whose reckless actions in leaking classified information, has imperilled the lives of the agents, named in the material.

On the other hand, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that his country would extend political asylum to Assange and he is in favour of pardoning him.

History of Legal trails with different governments:

Assange’s legal battles began when Sweden sought his extradition from Britain over alleged sex crimes. He lost the case in 2012 and fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London and stayed there for seven years. In April 2019, Assange was finally dragged out from there and imprisoned for breaching British bail conditions. The Swedish case has been dropped till that time. The US Justice Department formally asked Britain last June to extradite him.

However, Baraitser has rejected Trump’s team’s claims for pressuring the US prosecutors due to lack of evidence of hostility on Trump’s part and shunned the claims of the case being political and threatening freedom of speech.

She also said that Assange’s chances of getting a fair trial in the USA were adequate though she believes that Assange had breached investigative journalism boundaries. But she also feels that if Assange is found guilty, he would be sent to ADX Florence maximum security prison (SAM) in almost complete isolation where he could devise a plan of committing suicide, despite their preventive measures.

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