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Centre’s Rohingya flip-flop: Affidavit “incomplete”, sent “inadvertently” to lawyers

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Union home minister Rajnath Singh clarifies that affidavit on the Rohingya deportation issue will be filed with the Supreme Court on Sept 18

In a major embarrassment for the Union government which has been at the receiving end of global criticism for backing demands of deporting Rohingya Muslims back to Myanmar, it appears that an affidavit circulated in the media on Thursday which endorsed this view was only an “incomplete” document which was “inadvertently” sent by the Union law ministry to some lawyers.

On Friday, Union home minister Rajnath Singh was forced to clarify that the Centre will file its affidavit with the Supreme Court on the issue of Rohingya Muslim refugees in India on September 18. Singh’s clarification, however, came amid continued calls for deportation of Rohingya refugees from other members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s council of ministers.

Rajnath Singh

Sources in the Union ministries of home affairs and law have told APN that the Centre is unlikely to change its purported stand that deporting Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar is “in national interest”. However, the language of the final affidavit is likely to be “minimally altered” keeping in mind the global reaction that India’s effort to banish refugees of the persecuted ethnic minority back to a country where their brethren are being mercilessly butchered by the Junta is likely to attract.

The “incomplete” affidavit that was, on Thursday, sent “inadvertently” to some lawyers who have petitioned the Supreme Court on the Rohingya issue had said that it had been “found by the Central Government that many of the Rohingyas figure in the suspected sinister designs of ISIS/other extremist groups who want to achieve their ulterior motives in India including that of flaring up communal and sectarian violence in sensitive areas of the country”.

The affidavit further said: “a fragile north-eastern corridor (of India) may become further destablised in case of stridency of Rohingya militancy, which the Central Government has found to be growing, is permitted to continue. There is also a serious potential and possibility of eruption of violence against Myanmar government/its diplomatic missions and also against Buddhists who are Indian citizens and who stay on Indian soil by the radicalised Rohingyas”.

Terming the Rohingyas as a “direct threat to national security”, the said affidavit had claimed that providing facilities and amenities to illegal immigrants out of existing national resources “would have a direct adverse impact on Indian citizens” and that “fundamental rights of Indian citizens would be seriously violated” if the refugees were allowed to stay in India.

The affidavit dated September 11 was signed by Ravi Sunder, Deputy Secretary in the Foreigners’ Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

However, as news spread of the government filing the said affidavit with the Supreme Court, the Central Agency Section (CAS) of the Union law ministry clarified late on Thursday night that the document was “incomplete”.

The clarification sent to lawyers who were representing two Rohingya petitioners in the Supreme Court has been signed by deputy government advocate BV Balram Das and says: “The CAS has served you a copy of the affidavit… by mistake. In fact, the affidavit was/is in the process of being finalised. Before the affidavit is finalised reflecting the stand of the Central government after consideration of all concerned departments, an unfinalised copy is served upon you inadvertently.”

While it was earlier claimed that the affidavit had also been filed with the Supreme Court to be presented before the Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud which is presiding over proceedings on a bunch of public interest litigations and intervener petitions over the Rohingya issue, the CAS has also clarified that the said document “is also not filed with the Registry of the Hon’ble Supreme Court”.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear, on Monday (Sept 18) a plea filed by two Rohingya immigrants, Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, challenging the Indian government’s decision to deport illegal Rohingya Muslim immigrants back to Myanmar. The plea, filed by advocates Prashant Bhushan and Sayed Marzook Bafakhi on behalf of the two, claims that Salimullah and Shaqir had taken refuge in India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination, violence and bloodshed against the community there.

Opposing the plea, former RSS ideologue KN Govindacharaya has also moved the apex court seeking to make him a party in the case filed by the two Rohingya Muslims. Govindacharya has opposed their plea saying they were “a burden” on the country’s resources and posed a serious threat to national security.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah deletes post on reservation for Kannadigas in private sector after backlash from business community

the Cabinet meeting held yesterday approved a bill to make it mandatory to hire 100 per cent Kannadigas for C and D-grade posts in all private industries in the State.

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Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday deleted his social media post on the reservation Bill, which reserves seats in groups C and D for Kannadigas only in the private sector, after backlash from the business community.

Announcing the Bill on X, Siddaramaiah said the Cabinet meeting held yesterday approved a bill to make it mandatory to hire 100 per cent Kannadigas for C and D-grade posts in all private industries in the State.

The post further read, “It is our government’s wish that the Kannadigas should avoid being deprived of jobs in the land of Kannada and should be given an opportunity to build a comfortable life in the motherland.” He said that his government is a pro-Kannada government and their priority is to look after the welfare of Kannadigas.

Later after criticism from industry leaders, the Kartnataka CM deleted the post and then shared another post in Kannada that talks about giving reservation of 50% for administrative posts and 75% for non-administrative posts for Kannadigas in private industries and other organizations of the State.

Speaking to the media, Labour Minister Santosh Lad said the government is trying to introduce a law to give preference to locally available skills. He added that at the management level, it has been decided to provide reservations to 50% of the people.

At the non-management level, it has been decided to provide work to 70%, he said. If a particular skill is not available, people can be outsourced and they can be given work here. But the Government is trying to bring in a law to give preference to locally available skills, the minister further added.

In response to the government’s announcement about the passage of the Bill, industry leaders and unions voiced concerns that it would impede industry growth by pushing away skilled workers not protected by the quota. Nasscom, the apex body for the technology industry in India, stated that the Bill was “deeply disturbing”.

Mohandas Pai, a Padma Shri Awardee and former CFO and Board Member at Infosys, also said that the government must focus on increasing jobs, training, and educating Kannada youth instead of driving away investment. Karnataka is India’s best state, adding that he said we should not destroy this. Pai termed the Bill as ‘discriminatory, regressive, and against the Constitution’ even as he attacked the ruling Congress for the decision.

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Maharashtra sends controversial IAS trainee Puja Khedkar back to academy

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Trainee IAS officer Puja Khedkar, who has been the eye of the storm, has been asked by the Maharashtra Government to report back to the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie.

A letter from Maharashtra Additional Chief Secretary Nitin Gadre stated LBSNAA has suspended district training of Khedkar and has called her back for further necessary action. The letter said she has been relieved from the district training programme of the state government of Maharashtra and has been asked to join the academy by July 23 under any circumstances.

Khedkar had made it to the headlines for her alleged demands of a separate office and official car, besides using a beacon on her private luxury car without official sanction.

Earlier this month, a report regarding Khedkar and her father’s objectionable behaviour was sent by Pune District Collector Suhas Diwase to the state government.

Reports said Khedkar completed her MBBS and then appeared for the UPSC exams several times. According to her, she joined the IRS in 2019. In a later interview she said she could not join the IRS since there were some technical problems in the OBC allocation of her seat.

Thereafter, in November 2021, she applied and got appointed as the assistant director in the Sports Authority of India. She then appeared for the Civil Services Examination in 2021 and cleared the preliminary exam, the main examination, and the interview, securing the 821st rank.

However, she failed to present herself for a medical test to confirm disability claims of blindness and mental illness due to which she was getting benefits under the category of Persons with Benchmark Disabilities. Consequently, this persisted as a legal battle in Central Administrative Tribunal against UPSC.

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Supreme Court issues notice to CBI, ED on Manish Sisodia bail plea

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Manish Sisodia

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the bail pleas moved by former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

The Supreme Court’s decided to issue notice to the two agencies after arguments on Sisodia’s petitions for bail in two cases relating to alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi liquor policy. The court granted two weeks to the agencies to file their views.

“Views of agencies have to be heard before any decision is taken,” said Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, pointing at the seriousness of the charges slapped on Sisodia. The former Delhi Deputy CM has been under judicial remand since February 2023 over corruption and money laundering charges.

According to Sisodia’s counsel, the charges against him are politically motivated and lack enough evidence. The counsel had sought bail on medical grounds, to which the CBI or ED objected, saying his release might hamper the ongoing investigation into the case by influencing the witnesses or tampering with evidence.

According to the CBI and ED, Sisodia’s involvement in the liquor policy scheme was responsible for substantial state revenue loss and worked in favor of private liquor vendors.

Manish Sisodia, known for his transformational work in the field of education under the Delhi government, is not the only Aam Aadmi Party leader in jail. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Satyendar Jain are also behind bars. While Kejriwal is jailed in connection with the liquor policy case, Jain is in prison for corruption charges.

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