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Bail to Rahul Gandhi in defamation case for linking Gauri Lankesh murder to RSS



Bail to Rahul Gandhi in defamation case for linking Gauri Lankesh murder to RSS

Former Congress president and MP from Wayanad Rahul Gandhi was today (Thursday, July 4) granted bail by a Mumbai court after he pleaded ‘not guilty’ in a defamation case filed by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist for allegedly linking the organisation to the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh in 2017, PTI reported.

Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPM) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, who is also named in the defamation case and pleaded ‘not guilty’, was similarly granted bail.

The bail came on a surety of Rs15,000 given by former parliamentarian Eknath Gaikwad on behalf of Rahul Gandhi, according to ANI.

A day before, Rahul Gandhi formally quit as Congress president, releasing a letter to CWC to this effect. After getting the bail today, he said, “It is a battle of ideology. I stand with the poor, the farmers. Aakraman ho rahahai, maza aa rahahai (attack is taking place and I am enjoying it.”

Gandhi said he will now engage in the ‘ideological fight’ with BJP and RSS with 10 times more vigour than he did during the last five years. “I am with the poor, farmers and labourers. This fight (against BJP and RSS) will continue. And I will continue this fight with 10 times more vigour than I did during the last five years,” he said.

The complainant in the defamation case, RSS worker Dhrutiman Joshi,claimed that within 24 hours of Lankesh’smurder, Rahul Gandhi told reporters that “anybody who speaks against the ideology of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and RSS is pressured, beaten, attacked and even killed.”

The petitioner alleged that CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had also claimed the RSS ideology and workers were responsible for the murder. Yechury was also summoned by the court in February.

Today, the court read out to Rahul Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury the complaint and asked if they were pleading guilty or not guilty to the charges levelled against them.

The two leaders, who pleaded not guilty, will now face trial during which the court would record their statements and that of the complainant and other witnesses.

“Gandhi honoured the summons issued against him by this court. He has pleaded not guilty which means he will face trial. The court has posted the matter for further hearing on September 22,” Gandhi’s lawyer Kushal Mor said.

The court granted Gandhi and Yechury bail and also granted them permanent exemption from appearance before it during hearings in the case. Gandhi and Yechury then signed necessary documents and left the court premises.

Lankesh, a journalist who was known for her strident views against Hindutva politics, was killed at her home in Bengaluru by unidentified gunmen on September 5, 2017. Her murder sparked protests around the country and was seen by many as another in a spate of attacks that targeted activists and writers critical of Hindutva outfits.

In November, a Special Investigation Team of the Karnataka Police said Lankesh’s killers were linked to Hindutva organisation Sanatan Sanstha and her murder was part of an “organised crime”. The Indian Express reported the SIT chargesheet mentioned that the killers were trained by accused in Malegaon blast case. It needs to be clarified that Pragya Thakur’s name was not among those mentioned.

Rahul Gandhi has also been named in a defamation case filed by another RSS worker for claiming that the Sangh was responsible for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. The Congress leader made the statement during a rally in Maharashtra before the 2014 General Elections. The case is pending at the magistrate’s court in Bhiwandi in Maharashtra. In 2015, Gandhi turned down the Supreme Court’s offer to express regret in order to get the defamation suit quashed. He stood by his remarks when he appeared before the Bhiwandi court in November 2016 but was granted bail.

Also Read: Am no longer Congress president, says Rahul, asks party to choose new chief

There are five different cases for which Rahul will have to appear in courts across the country to defend statements he made against BJP and RSS while campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls, said a media report.

Rahul has to appear next before a Patna court on July 6 in connection with a defamation case filed against him by deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi for asking “why all thieves have Modi as their title (surnames)”.

Rahul will appear before an Ahmedabad court on July 9 for his “murder accused” reference to BJP chief Amit Shah, while on July 12, he will appear before another Gujarat court in criminal defamation suits filed by the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank and its chairman. On July 24, Rahul is scheduled to appear before a Surat court, for allegedly defaming the entire Modi community by saying all “Modis are thieves”.

Congress tweets ‘RSS for Dummies’

While Rahul Gandhi faces cases  for ‘defaming’ RSS, the Congress today posted a series of tweets, including a one-minute video, claiming the RSS has ‘consistently participated in anti-India activities’.

“Think you know what the RSS is all about, think again. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has consistently participated in anti-India activities, including pledging loyalty to the British, instigating violence & assassinating Mahatma Gandhi,” the tweet said.

The one-minute video titled RSS for Dummies claimed that RSS founder ‘KB Hedgewar ordered the Sangh not to participate in Satyagraha’. “Sangh leaders encouraged members to join the British civic guard… RSS’ non-participation in India’s Independence was complimented by their British masters… The Sangh opposed our national flag! Anti-national, much? Nathuram Godse shot and killed Gandhi,” the video claims.

In the video, Congress has also alleged that the RSS treats Manusmruti ‘bigger’ than the Constitution of India.

The post also comes a day after Gandhi stepped down as Congress president taking responsibility of the debacle his party faced in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls. But beyond admitting his failure in leading the party, Gandhi, in his four-page letter, also blamed the RSS for succeeding in its mission to capture India’s institutions’.

Also Read: Home Minister Amit Shah summons Delhi Police chief over Hauz Qazi communal clash

“Our democracy has been fundamentally weakened… There is a real danger that from now on, the election will go from being a determinant of India’s future to a mere ritual… This capture of power will result in unimaginable levels of violence and pain for India. Farmers, unemployed youngsters, women, tribals, Dalits and minorities are going to suffer the most. The impact on our economy and the nation’s reputation is going to be devastating,” Gandhi said in his resignation letter.

India News

Bus carrying injured passengers from Odisha train accident collides with van in Bengal town



A bus loaded with injured passengers from the Balasore train accident had to face another unfortunate accident in Medinipur, Bengal on Saturday, June 3. These passengers had sustained injuries in the triple-train crash that occurred in Odisha’s Balasore on June 2, adding to the already tragic series of events.

The bus carrying injured passengers to various districts in Bengal to provide victims with essential medical care, collided head-on with a pick-up van, leading to traffic disruptions on the National Highway in Medinipur. The collision resulted in a momentary halt as emergency responders swiftly sprung into action.

Fortunately, preliminary reports indicate that the injuries sustained by several passengers were minor in nature. The local authorities, displaying commendable efficiency, wasted no time in launching rescue operations. They coordinated the immediate transportation of the injured to different healthcare facilities across West Bengal, making sure they receive all required treatments.

The passengers who had gotten away with injuries from the earlier train accident in Balasore must have been shaken at the second incident within 24 hours. The Friday collision involved three trains: the Coromandel Express ( Kolkata-Chennai), the Yeswanthpur-Howrah Superfast Express, and a goods train. The result left a devastating toll, with at least 280 reported deaths and over 900 injuries.

Unfortunately, the collision involving the bus carrying the injured passengers and the pick-up van has further complicated the ongoing rescue efforts. However, the authorities are working tirelessly to provide the necessary assistance and care to the victims, as well as to assess the overall situation and mitigate further risks.

As the nation mourns, during these difficult times, the authorities prioritize the safety and well-being of those affected, extending their support to the victims and their families. 

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India News

PM Modi visits Odisha train accident site, promises tough punishment for people responsible for collision

The Prime Minister met the injured passengers and assured them all the help and asked the Cabinet Secretary to provide special care so that the bereaved families are not put to inconvenience.



PM Modi with Railway minister Ashwini

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday visited the site of the train accident in Odisha’s Balasore where almost 300 died and some 700 injured. Speaking to the media, he said those guilty of the lapse that led to the accident will be punished.

PM Modi said he shared the anguish of those who have lost their near and dear. He assured the people that all possible help will be provided to the accident-hit families. He said the government will not forgive the culprits and dole out the strictest punishment to them. The Railways are working hard to restore the track, he added.

The Prime Minister met the injured passengers and assured them all the help and asked the Cabinet Secretary to provide special care so that the bereaved families are not put to inconvenience, and those who are affected should keep getting assistance from the government.

He also took stock of the relief and restoration operation on Saturday. PM Modi reached the site with Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan with other senior officials. He interacted with the disaster relief team and other railways officials as well.

Apart from the announcement by Vaishnaw of Central assistance, PM Modi announced an additional ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund on Friday. On the day of incident, he spoke to Vaishnaw on phone and took stock of the situation. PM Modi had been scheduled to flag off Goa’s first Vande Bharat Express but after the Odisha accident happened, he had the event postponed.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge visited the site to provide all possible relief. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, a former Railway Minister herself, also visited the site in Balasore. In Vaishnaw’s presence, she said the incident could have been avoided if the Railways had installed the anti-collision system. She announced a separate Rs 5 lakh compensation for families of those who died in the crash and Rs 1 lakh for those seriously injured, and Rs 50,000 for victims with minor injuries. She also said that West Bengal officers and doctors are on the ground for the relief work.

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India News

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw trolled over missing Kavach after Odisha train accident

Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnav said a high-level probe panel has been set up to look into what happened exactly before the two passenger trains on different lines derailed and collided. There is another question arising on the Coromandel Express’ wrong track.



Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav

The Odisha train accident has claimed over 280 lives leaving hundreds injured. The Railways have become targets for trolls given the number of deaths in Odisha.

The trolls have been very specific in getting after Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw since he had posted a video on the Kavach anti-collision system n which he explained in detail how the system would work to prevent collisions. Social media users asked the minister why was Kavach not installed on the stretch which saw the horrific accident. Some even demanded Vaishnaw resign. Railway spokesperson Amitabh Sharma confirmed there was no Kavach deployed on the incident route. The Kavach just might have saved so many lives.

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav said a high-level probe panel has been set up to look into what happened exactly before the two passenger trains on different lines derailed and collided. There are other theories for the accident with some saying the Coromandel Express was on the wrong track.

The Indian Railways had announced to implement Kavach protection system over 2000 km during 2022-23. Around 34,000 km network was planned to be brought under Kavach. With Vaishnaw’s video explaining Kavach getting viral, Trinamool Congress s leader Saket Gokhale said only 2% of the total Railway routes have been brought under Kavach.

Gokhale claimed it was mere repackaging of the anti-collision device proposed by Mamata Banerjee when she was railway minister. In 2011-12, Indian Railways under Banerjee had developed the Train Collision Avoidance System system. The Narendra Modi government typically renamed the system to Kavach only to take credit, Gokhale said.

There was no progress on deploying this crucial rail safety technology until 2019 when three companies were approved for manufacturing and installing Kavach on railway tracks, the Trinamool leader said.

On Twitter, a journalist said similar accidents have happened in the past but the then Railway Ministers like Nitish Kumar and Lal Bahadur Shastri have taken moral responsibility and resigned from the position.

The accident has drawn condolences and outrage from India and abroad. Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif tweeted that he was deeply saddened by the loss of hundreds of lives in the accident. Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said he was broken at seeing the images from the train accident and extended his condolences to the people who lost their close ones, he said Canadians are with the people of India in this difficult time. The European Commission and Turkey have also expressed their condolences at the loss of lives in the tragedy.   

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