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Journalists express solidarity with Tribune, reporter for Aadhaar expose

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The Tribune chief thanks for action

By Abu Turab, APN

A large number of journalists and representatives of media associations came together with National Journalists Alliance (NJA) and Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) to express their solidarity with The Tribune and its investigative journalist Rachna Khaira over Aadhaar data expose .

The journalists’ bodies organized a special discussion on Wednesday at Gandhi Peace Foundation on “Right to Investigate: Freedom of Press”.

DUJ President S. K. Pande hosted the discussion while important speakers were: Siddharth Vardarajan, Editor of “The Wire”, Mehmood Pracha, senior lawyer, Satish Mishra, long time associate with Tribune, Masoom Moradabadi, Secretary of ALL India Urdu Editors Conference.

On Januarry 4, Rachna Khaira, exposed the UIDAI claim of Aadhaar being “fully safe” by purchasing a service offered by anonymous “sellers” over Whatsapp, in just Rs. 500 to access to the details of more than 1 billion Aadhaar numbers created in the country.

The Tribune’s associate editor K V Prasad read the message from Harish Khare, the Editor-in-Chief.  He directly hit the government of the day questioning, “if the arrogant rulers of the day can think of wanting to arrest the reporter and The Tribune editor, which journalist in India can feel safe and confident in pursuing an honest story?”

Khare further said, “We at The Tribune did nothing more than what any other set of editors in a newspaper would have done. We do not think of ourselves as manning the barricades. We do not subscribe to permanent insurrection. We are not chasing any revolution.”

“We believe in the Constitution and its values; we assiduously seek to provide space to the voices of dissent. And yet, we are sought to be hauled up for doing a spot of honest, legitimate investigative reporting; we are sought to be intimidated for practising a bit of old-fashioned journalism.” Khare added.

Siddarth Vardarajan, the Editor of The Wire, which had broken story about multiplied worth of Amit Shah’s son Jai Shah’s business entity a few month ago, said that the action taken against The Tribune and its journalist is “an attack on constitution” and  “an assault on freedom of speech”.The Tribune

He said that this is a “threat against other journalists” to keep them away from doing similar stories exposing the loophole. Instead, “UIDAI should have filed FIR’s against those ministries and state governments who have uploaded the Aadhaar details of large number of individuals much before the recent expose,” he said.

Addressing the legal issues surrounding the Aadhaar expose, Mehmood Pracha, a renowned lawyer, said Rachna Khaira, the journalist who exposed the insecure mechanism of Aadhaar, “should be honoured as heroine”. He said that he was sure that “charges will not sustain in any court of law” against the newspaper or the journalist.

Pracha said that billions of rupees were being spent on Aadhaar project which is in itself a huge scam. This case is just a peanut, we should focus on the motives behind the whole exercise, he said.

According to him, under the law, citizens are “entitled” to get their Aadhaar cards but the government is “forcing” them to get themselves registered through difference means and excuses, which is illegal.

Pracha said that today the government is insisting on biometric data, tomorrow it may demand more, even ask for our genome. “We should demolish Aadhaar as a whole,” he said.

DUJ President S. K. Pande called upon all journalists “to unite to defend ourselves” from such attacks on our right to investigate and report freely and fearlessly. He demanded for the withdrawal of FIR against the investigative journalist and the newspaper.

Pranjoy Guha Thakurta, former editor of Economic and Political Weekly said that Aadhaar is a mass surveillance tool. He asked Civil Society to find ways to protect itself, methods to protect our children and their children “from such surveillance”.

Veteran journalist Sukumar Muralidharan, Sanjay Kapur, the editor of Hard News, Satish Mishra, a veteran journalist, W. Chandrakant of National Alliance of Journalists and Sujata Madhok, the General Secretary of DUJ also spoke on the occasion.

Masoom Moradabadi, a senior Urdu journalist, echoing the need to dissent, read out a poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz on the citizen’s right to speak up against all kind of oppression.

Moreover, S. D. Thakur, President of All India Newspaper Employees Federation (AINEF) and Tapan Sen, General Secretary of Centre of Trade Union (CTU) sent their solidarity messages to the journalists raising their voice against the draconian action against The Tribune and its journalist.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi reveals plan for ambitious 2047 Viksit Bharat project, says work for the project has been ongoing for last 2 years

The Prime Minister said that he does not mean to scare or suppress anyone, but rather has plans to make India a developed nation by 2047.

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A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its election manifesto, which aims at building a Viksit Bharat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an interview with the media, outlined his vision for India’s development by 2047. He also addressed concerns raised by the opposition parties, who suggest that the BJP might seek to amend the Constitution if re-elected in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave his assurance to the people that they do not need to fear when he said that he has big plans for the country in his election speeches. Explaining statement, the Prime Minister said that he does not mean to scare or suppress anyone, but rather has plans to make India a developed nation by 2047.

Speaking to the media, PM Modi said, when he says that he has big plans, no one should be scared. He said he does not take decisions to scare or run-over anyone, he takes decisions for the wholesome development of the country. He added the government always says they have done everything.  He said he did not believe that he had done everything. He added he had tried to do everything in the right direction, yet there is so much he needed to do, because he saw that his country has so many needs.

The Prime minister asked how did he fulfill the dreams of every family? He said this is the reason why he said this has been a trailer. PM Modi said he had been working on the ambitious 2047 Viksit Bharat project for the past two years. And for that, he asked for opinions and suggestions from people across India.  He said he had taken suggestions from more than 15 lakh people on how they want to see India in the coming 25 years.

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Kangana Ranaut meets Dalai Lama in Dharamshala shares pictures on social media ahead of Lok Sabha elections, post goes viral

The Bollywood actor met Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in Himachal Pradesh’s Dharamshala and said it as one of the most memorable moments of her life.

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The Bollywood actor and BJP candidate for the Mandi Lok Sabha seat met Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in Himachal Pradesh’s Dharamshala on Monday. She said it as one of the most memorable moments of her life. Kangana Ranaut also shared pictures on social media.

The Lok Sabha elections in Himachal Pradesh are scheduled for June 1, marking the seventh phase of elections to elect four members of the 18th Lok Sabha. As the voting day is still over a month away, candidates contesting in the 4 constituencies are actively participating in various campaign activities. Among them, the BJP’s star candidate Kangana Ranaut, who is contesting from Mandi against Congress’s Vikramaditya Singh, is leaving no stone unturned to win the votes of the people.

Kangana Ranaut also shared what Dalai Lama told her during the meeting. She said, his Holiness ji said that he enjoys being in Himachal Pradesh and absolutely loves Bharat. She said this is such a privilege and such an honour. After her meeting with the spiritual leader, the actor told the media that it was divine. She said it was an experience which she will cherish all her life. She thought it is exceptional to be in the presence of such a being who has sheer divinity around him. She said it was very emotional for her and ex-CM Jairam Thakur. She added she will cherish this experience all her life.

Earlier, Kangana Ranaut slammed Himachal Pradesh minister Vikramaditya Singh for calling her the queen of controversies while she was addressing a poll rally in Mandi. She said, Yeh tumhare baap-dada ki riyasat nahin hai, ke tum mujhe dara, dhamka ke vapis bhej doge. She further added this is the new Bharat of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where a small, poor boy who used to sell tea is the biggest hero and pradhan sevak of the people.

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India News

Election Commission records highest inducement seizure of Rs 4,650 crore ahead of Lok Sabha election

The Election Commission of India records highest inducement seizure of Rs 4,650 in 75-years of history.

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) announced on Monday that the upcoming Lok Sabha elections are expected to witness the highest ever seizures of inducements.

According to a notification from the poll board, enforcement agencies had already seized a record Rs 4,650 crore before the first round of polling, which is yet to start. This was a significant increase over the Rs 3,475 crores seized during the entire Lok Sabha election in 2019.

As part of a level playing field, the Election Commission said that the enhanced seizures reflect ECI’s unwavering commitment to monitor inducements and curb electoral malpractices, particularly in favour of smaller and less resourceful parties.

Significantly, narcotics and drugs, which are the Commission’s main focus, account for 45% of the seizures. The poll body continued, the seizures have been made possible by thorough planning, increased cooperation and coordinated deterrent action by agencies, proactive public participation, and optimal use of technology.

The commission also made statistics on the distribution of inducements that were seized available for public consumption by state. With a seizure of over Rs 778 crore, Rajasthan topped the list. Gujarat came in second with Rs 605 crore, and Maharashtra came in third with roughly Rs 431 crore.

When announcing the polls last month, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar highlighted money power as one of the 4M challenges, along with money, muscle, misinformation, and Model Code of Conduct violations.

Use of black money, over and above political financing and accurate disclosure thereof, may disturb the level playing field in favor of a more resourceful party or candidate in specific geographies, the panel stated in its statement released on Monday.

The poll authority claims that the seizures are an essential part of the ECI’s resolve to hold fair elections for the Lok Sabha that are free from electoral malpractices and inducements.

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