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Rahul pleads not guilty in ‘thieves share Modi surname’ defamation case; next hearing Dec 10

Rahul Gandhi pleaded not guilty in a criminal defamation case against him in a Surat court for his remark ‘how come all thieves share the Modi surname’.

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Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Rahul Gandhi today – Thursday, Oct 10 – said the string of defamation cases filed against him were filed by political rivals desperate to silence him.

Rahul was in Surat today to appear before a magisterial court in a criminal defamation case filed against him in different towns for his remark “how come all thieves share the Modi surname”.

“I am in Surat today to appear in a defamation case filed against me by my political opponents, desperate to silence me. I am grateful for the love & support of the Congress workers who have gathered here to express their solidarity with me,” he tweeted.

Rahul Gandhi faces several defamation cases. Tomorrow, after the one he appeared for today, there is another case coming up in an Ahmedabad court in connection with a defamation case over his statement that the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank, in which Shah is director, was involved in a scam during demonetisation. This related to the reports that scrapped currency notes with face value of Rs 750 crore were exchanged with valid bills within five days of demonetisation in 2016.

Also slated for tomorrow is the case against him for calling Union Home Minister Amit Shah a “murder accused”. The former Congress President, on April 23, had attacked Amit Shah citing a murder case in which the BJP leader was discharged some years ago, after BJP came to power.

Besides, there is a defamation case against him for his alleged comments linking Gauri Lankesh’s killing with the BJP-RSS ideology and another for allegedly blaming the Sangh for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.

Appearing in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate BH Kapadia today, Rahul pleaded not guilty when asked by the court whether he accept the charges levelled against him by BJP legislator from Surat-West, Purnesh Modi.

After Gandhi’s plea was recorded, his lawyers moved an application seeking a permanent exemption from personal appearance in the next hearings. After Modi’s lawyers raised objection to the exemption plea, the court said it will decide on the plea on December 10.

The court said Gandhi is not required to remain present during the next hearing on that date.

During the last hearing in July, the court had granted Gandhi exemption from personal appearance for that hearing and fixed October 10 as the next date of hearing.

In his complaint, the BJP legislator had alleged the Congress leader had defamed the entire Modi community with his remarks, made during the Lok Sabha campaign this year. The court, while admitting the suit, had held that there was a prima facie case of criminal defamation against the Lok Sabha member from Wayanad.

At a Lok Sabha election campaign rally at Kolar in Karnataka on April 13, Gandhi had said, “Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi… how come they all have Modi as common surname? How come all thieves have Modi as common surname?”

In his complaint, Purnesh Modi had said the Congress leader had defamed the entire Modi community with his statement.

The Congress claims his remarks had been directed at allegations of corruption against businessmen Lalit Modi and Nirav Modi and were meant to highlight the failure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring them to justice.

“In a democracy, party in power should tolerate criticism of opposition. Rahulji had said Lalit Modi and Nirav Modi are thieves and Narendra Modi is a failure. BJP connected his statement to Modi community and insulted them,” Shaktisinh Gohil, a Bihar Congress leader, was quoted by ANI.

“Such transparent attempts to silence the truth will never work, the fight against lies & hatred will always be strengthened by sincerity & love,” the party tweeted.

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PM Modi inaugurates 3 major space infrastructure projects, announces names of astronauts for Gaganyaan mission

The four pilots have been training at the astronaut training facility in Bengaluru.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today revealed the names of four pilots preparing for the country’s historic Gaganyaan human space travel program. Group Captain P Balakrishnan Nair, Group Captain Ajit Krishnan, Group Captain Angad Pratap, and Wing Commander S Shukla, are the four pilots who are selected for this mission.

The PM also bestowed astronaut wings to the four astronaut-designates.

PM Modi addressed the people there and said, he is happy that today he got the opportunity to meet these astronauts and present them in front of the country. He also congratulated the astronauts on behalf of the entire country. PM Modi also hailed the astronaut as the pride of the country.

Meanwhile, the PM inaugurated three major infrastructure projects of ISRO valued at 1800 crore during his visit to Vikram Sarabhai Space Center in Kerala on Tuesday. PM Narendra Modi is on a two-day visit to the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu starting Tuesday, February 27.

The projects include the PSLV Integration Facility at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, the new Semi-cryogenics Integrated Engine and stage Test facility at ISRO Propulsion Complex at Mahendragiri, and Trisonic Wind Tunnel at VSSC, Thiruvananthapuram.

Before the inauguration ceremonyISRO chairman S Somanath extended his respects to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a felicitation ceremony held at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram.

The ISRO chairman said, with the support of the honorable Prime Minister, the space sector is undergoing rapid transformation for expansion. He added that the long-term space vision for Amrit Kal had already been announced by the Prime minister. He further added that the vision had been created for Amrit Kal with the space sector as the torch bearer.

After the inauguration ceremony, the Prime Minister is scheduled to address public gatherings in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, and Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu. Additionally, he will participate in the program called Creating the Future – Digital Mobility for Automotive MSME Entrepreneurs in Madurai.

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Rahul Gandhi reacts to Hijab controversy, says what a person wears is their responsibility and nobody should decide what they wear

Rahul Gandhi said what a woman wears is her responsibility and it is her decision. He thought nobody should decide what they wear. His comments came after the Congress government in Karnataka allowed students to wear Hijab during competitive exams in October last year.

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Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said that women’s choice of clothing including a hijab should be respected and one should not dictate what a person has to wear. Rahul Gandhi was interacting with female students at the Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh during his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra.

During the interaction a girl mentioned the hijab controversy in Karnataka and asked the Congress leader about his views on the same. He said what a woman wears is her responsibility and it is her decision. He thought nobody should decide what they wear. His comments came after the Congress government in Karnataka allowed students to wear Hijab during competitive exams in October last year.

The issue erupted in Januray 2022 when Muslim students at a government pre-university college in Karnataka’s Udupi were denied entry for wearing hijabs, citing a violation of the college’s uniform policy. The incident has sparked widespread protests and counter-protests across the state.

The then BJP government issued an order that made mandatory for students to wear uniforms in educational institutes. The order banned the wearing of hijabs in these settings. This decision was challenged in court, and on March 15, 2022 the decision was upheld by the Haryana High Court.

The court said wearing a hiujab is not an essential religious practice in Islam and as result it does not fall under the protection of Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the fundamental right to freely practice one’s religion.

In October 2022, The Supreme Court pronounced a split verdict on the petitions challenging The Karnataka High Court order which refused to overturn a ban on hijabs in educational institutions in the state. The Top court’s split verdict means the issue will be revisited by a larger bench for final decision.In December last year, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced that his government will withdraw the order banning hijab in schools and colleges in the state .   

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Rajya Sabha election: Samajwadi Party leader Manoj Kumar Pandey steps down as Chief Whip, voting underway

Samajwadi Party MLA Manoj Kumar Pandey on Tuesday resigned from the post of party chief whip amid the voting for 10 Rajya Sabha seats.

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In the midst of voting for the Rajya Sabha elections, Samajwadi Party leader and MLA Manoj Kumar Pandey resigned from his position as the party’s chief whip in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday.

His resignation from the position was announced barely one day after eight Samajwadi Party MLAs failed to show up for a meeting that the party Chief Akhilesh Yadav had called.

Eight BJP candidates and three Samajwadi Party candidates have applied for the 10 Rajya Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh as the voting has begun.

The main opposition SP and the ruling BJP both have enough members to send seven and three members to the Rajya Sabha, respectively, without opposition. However, since the BJP is fielding an eighth candidate, a competitive race is expected in one of the seats.

The results will be announced by the end of the day.

The BJP has put up seven other candidates which includes, former Union minister RPN Singh, former MP Chaudhary Tejveer Singh, general secretary of the party’s Uttar Pradesh unit Amarpal Maurya, former state minister Sangeeta Balwant (Bind); former MLA Sadhna Singh, and former Agra mayor Naveen Jain.

Actor-turned-MP Jaya Bachchan, former IAS officer Alok Ranjan, and Dalit activist Ramji Lal Suman are the candidates officially nominated by the Samajwadi Party.

In Uttar Pradesh, a candidate needs around 37 first-preference votes to be elected to the Rajya Sabha.

Voting will end at 4 p.m., and counting will start at 5 p.m.

With 252 and 108 members, respectively, the BJP and the SP have the majority of seats in the 403-member state assembly. The SP’s alliance partner, the Congress, holds two seats.

Thirteen seats are held by the BJP ally Apna Dal (Sonelal), six by the NISHAD Party, nine by the RLD, six by the SBSP, two by Jansatta Dal Loktantrik, and one by the BSP. There are presently four open seats.

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