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Govt calls on SC to lay guidelines on freebies

A counsel argued that most of the freebies are not part of the manifesto but are declared during rallies and speeches…reports Asian Lite News

The Centre on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to lay down guidelines to regulate the freebies announced by political parties to induce voters, till the legislature devises a mechanism. The issues associated with freebies were also acknowledged by the apex court, which observed that the economy losing money and the welfare of the people, both have to be balanced.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justice Krishna Murari noted that irrational freebies are definitely an issue of concern and there should be financial discipline. They however pointed out that in a country like India, where poverty is an issue, how could poverty be ignored.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, said: “We are proposing a committee, comprising secretary, central government, secretary of each state government, representative of each political party, representative of Niti Aayog, RBI, Finance Commission, National Taxpayers Association and others.” He added that till the legislature steps in, the court may lay down something.

The top court declined to consider a plea for de-recognising parties for making promises to give freebies and noted that idea to de-recognise political parties for making promises to give irrational freebies during the polls was ‘undemocratic’. “I do not want to enter the area of de-registering a political party etc. as it is an undemocratic idea…We are a democracy after all,” the Chief Justice said.

A counsel argued that most of the freebies are not part of the manifesto but are declared during rallies and speeches. The bench said it is a serious issue and added that people who are opposing freebies have a right to say, since they are paying tax and expect that amount should be spent on building infrastructure etc and not in distributing money. The Chief Justice said the expert panel can look into it, and it cannot get into making legislation.

The Chief Justice said the question is to what extent the court can interfere or go into the issue? He reiterated that it is a serious issue and pointed out various schemes introduced by the Centre and state governments for the welfare of the people. Mehta said freebies cannot be welfare, and there are other scientific ways to provide welfare to the people. He added that now elections are only fought on the ground of freebies. “If freebie is considered to be for the welfare of the people, it’ll lead to a disaster,” said Mehta.

The petitioner claimed RBI data shows that the total outstanding liabilities of the states as on March 31, 2021 are a staggering Rs 59,89,360 crore. Senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing the petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay, emphasised on financial discipline, and said “Where would this money come from? We’re tax payers?”.

Citing the distribution of gold chains and TVs by political parties, senior advocate Arvind Datar said there was a decision by this court which states that giving freebies is adhering to the Directive Principles of State Policy under the Constitution, which needs to be looked into.

The bench noted that financial discipline has to be there and the economy losing money and welfare of the people, both have to be balanced.

The Chief Justice said he does not want to encroach on areas meant for legislation. Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Aam Aadmi Party, said there is confusion between freebies and welfare, the word freebies is used in a very wrong manner.

After hearing the arguments, the top court scheduled the matter for further hearing on August 17. The court had sought suggestions from stakeholders and recommended setting up an expert panel to scrutinise the issues associated with irrational freebies.

On Wednesday, the Election Commission (EC) told the Supreme Court that being a constitutional body, it should be kept away from the panel of experts -representing a wide spectrum of governmental and non-governmental bodies – proposed to deliberate on the issue of validity of freebies announced by the political parties to induce voters during polls. In the previous hearing in the matter, the top court had orally expressed its discontent with the EC for not taking a stand on the menace of freebies offered by political parties.

The top court was hearing a PIL by Upadhyay seeking directions to the Centre and the Election Commission to take steps to regulate poll manifestos of political parties and to hold parties accountable for promises made in such manifestos.

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India, Bangladesh discuss boosting defence ties


Lieutenant General Waker-Uz-Zaman was in India as the head of a 15-member Bangladeshi armed forces to attend the 4th Annual Defence Dialogue and 2nd Tri-Services Staff Talks….reports Asian Lite News

As part of ongoing efforts to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries, Principal Staff Officer, Armed Forces Division of Bangladesh Lieutenant General Waker-Uz-Zaman, met with Indian

and Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The official Twitter account of the Additional Directorate General of Public Information, IHQ of the MoD (Army), tweeted about it, saying, “Lieutenant General Waker-Uz-Zaman, Principal Staff Officer, Armed Forces Division, #Bangladesh called on General Manoj Pande #COAS and discussed ways to enhance the bilateral #DefenceCooperation between both Nations. #IndiaBangladeshFriendship”.

“Lt Gen Waker-Uz-Zaman, Principal Staff Officer, Armed Forces Division, #Bangladesh on an official visit to India called on Adm R Hari Kumar, #CNS. Reaffirmed commitment to strengthening multi-disciplinary bilateral engagements & shared responsibilities towards #maritimesecurity,” the Indian Navy tweeted.

Lieutenant General Waker-Uz-Zaman was in India as the head of a 15-member Bangladeshi armed forces to attend the 4th Annual Defence Dialogue and 2nd Tri-Services Staff Talks.

India and Bangladesh, meanwhile, reiterated their commitment to strengthening bilateral military ties at the 2nd India-Bangladesh Tri-services Staff Talks (TSST) held in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Brigadier General Husain Muhammad Rahaman, Director General Operation and Plan Directorate, Armed Force Division from Bangladesh, and Brigadier General Vivek Narang, Deputy Assistant Chief of Integrated Staff, IDC(A), HQ Integrated Defence Staff (IDS), co-chaired the meeting.

“The discussions focused on the ongoing and new initiatives taken under the ambit of the existing bilateral defence cooperation mechanism of all three services and further strengthened the bilateral defence engagements,” said a press release issued by the Ministry of Defence.

Before arriving in New Delhi, the delegation visited various defence industries in Bangalore.

“They witnessed the capabilities of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bharat Electronics Limited, Tata Advanced Systems Limited and Big Bang Boom Solutions before departing for Delhi,” the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh said on Twitter.

The TSST is a platform created to strengthen defence cooperation between the two countries via routine discussions at the strategic and operational levels between HQ IDS and Bangladesh Armed Forces Division.

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6 killed in J&K suicide attack; injured soldier succumbs

With the death of the injured soldier, the toll in Thursday’s foiled ‘Fidayeen’ (Suicide) attack in Rajouri district has reached six….reports Asian Lite News

 An army soldier who was injured while fighting the terrorists on Thursday in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district succumbed to his critical injuries in the hospital.

A Defence statement said on Tuesday evening: “Rifleman Nishant Malik who was injured while bravely fighting and eliminating 2 terrorists in Pargal, Rajouri has succumbed to injuries.

“Indian Army condoles the loss of braveheart and stands in solidarity with his family,” it added.

Malik was a resident of Adarsh Nagar village in Haryana’s Hisar.

With the death of the injured soldier, the toll in Thursday’s foiled ‘Fidayeen’ (Suicide) attack in Rajouri district has reached six.

Three Indian Army personnel on Thursday succumbed to injuries received while neutralising two terrorists carrying out a suicide bomb attack in Rajouri.

Subedar Rajendra Prasad, Rifleman Manoj Kumar and Rifleman Lakshmanan D made the supreme sacrifice for the country during the operation on Thursday morning.

However, the Army managed to foil a suicide bomb attack on its base here and killed both the terrorists.

The martyred persons were shifted to medical facilities for further treatment, Army officials said here.

“In a terrorist attack 25 km from Rajouri, two terrorists carried out a suicide bomb attack on an Army company operating base. Both terrorists have been killed while three own troops have lost their lives. Operations in progress,” Indian Army officials told ANI.

“One Officer along with two other jawans is injured in the terrorist attack and has been rushed for medical treatment,” the sources said.

16 Corps Commander Lt Gen Manjinder Singh is constantly monitoring the situation on the ground. The area is being sanitised, they added.

The suicide bomb attack on the company operating base of a Rashtriya Rifles unit in Pargal located in the Darhal area of Rajouri looks like an attempt to carry out a Uri-like attack where terrorists had infiltrated the Army camp and killed 19 soldiers.

The attempt to infiltrate the Army camp took place days ahead of the 75th Independence Day celebration in the country.

Notably, the attack comes a day after three LeT terrorists were neutralised by security forces in Budgam. One of the killed terrorists was involved in the killing of civilians Rahul Bhat and Amreen Bhat.

“All the three hiding LeT terrorists neutralised. Bodies being retrieved from the site, identification is yet to be ascertained. Incriminating materials, arms & ammunition were recovered. A big success for us” said a tweet by Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Kashmir. (ANI)

ALSO READ: French Rafale jets make crucial stopover in India

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French Rafale jets make crucial stopover in India

The contingent which comprises three Rafale jets and support aircraft, landed at Air Force Station Sulur on Wednesday evening and flew out in the early hours of Thursday after refuelling…reports Asian Lite News

A French Air and Space Force contingent, including three Rafale jets, was hosted in India during Indo-Pacific deployment on Wednesday, a statement issued by the French Embassy in New Delhi said.

The contingent which was en route to New Caledonia was hosted for a technical stopover at Air Force Station in Sulur town of Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore district on August 10-11 during a long-distance deployment from metropolitan France to the Pacific Ocean.

“From 10th August to 18th September, the French Air and Space Force is carrying out a major long-range mission in the Indo-Pacific, code-named Pegase 22. The first stage of this mission aims to demonstrate France’s capacity for long-distance air power projection by deploying an Air Force contingent from metropolitan France to the French territory of New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean in less than 72 hours (10th-12th August). To achieve this unprecedented 16,600-km deployment, the Air Force contingent made a technical stopover in India, at Air Force Station Sulur,” the statement read.

The contingent which comprises three Rafale jets and support aircraft, landed at Air Force Station Sulur on Wednesday evening and flew out in the early hours of Thursday after refuelling, as per the French Embassy.

“The operation demonstrated a high level of mutual trust and interoperability between the French and Indian Air Forces, which has been further boosted by the fact that both Air Forces now fly Rafale jets. It also illustrated the concrete implementation of the reciprocal logistics support agreement signed by France and India in 2018,” the statement read further.

Lauding the IAF’s role in this successful operation, the Ambassador of France to India, Emmanuel Lenain, said: “France is a resident power of the Indo-Pacific, and this ambitious long-distance air power projection demonstrates our commitment to the region and our partners. It is only natural that to carry out this mission, we rely on India, our foremost strategic partner in Asia. My heartfelt thanks to the Indian Air Force for welcoming the French contingent.”

In the following stages of Mission Pegase 22, the French Air Force contingent will take part in the “Pitch Black” air exercise taking place in Australia from 17th August to 10th September. The Indian Air Force will also participate in this multilateral drill, along with Australia, Japan, United States, Germany, Indonesia, Singapore, United Kingdom, and South Korea.

Mission Pegase 22 is a powerful demonstration of France’s capacity for quick deployment in the Indo-Pacific. The mission is also proof that the security situation in Europe has not diminished the French and European commitment in the Indo-Pacific. In this respect, it also aims to strengthen ties with key strategic partners, such as India, and underline France’s support for security and stability in the region.

India and France have traditionally close and friendly relations. In 1998, the two countries entered into a Strategic Partnership which is emblematic of their convergence of views on a range of international issues apart from a close and growing bilateral relationship. (ANI)

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Madras HC rejects PIL against masks, lawyer fined

The court dismissed the petition and imposed costs of Rs 10,000 on the litigant….reports Asian Lite News

Madras High Court on Thursday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a lawyer against the state government over its insistence on wearing masks.

Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N. Mala passed the orders on the petition filed by Advocate S.V. Ramamurthy who claimed that wearing masks had adverse effects and that people were not able to inhale oxygen properly.

The petitioner, in his Public Interest Litigation, had challenged a Tamil Nadu government order issued by the state health department on January 12 and another order issued by the Greater Chennai Corporation on July 4 for imposing a fine of Rs 500 for those who did not wear masks.

The court dismissed the petition and imposed costs of Rs 10,000 on the litigant.

Meanwhile in Delhi, the government has made wearing of masks in public places mandatory and a fine of Rs 500 will be imposed on violators, in the wake of a sudden surge of new Covid-19 cases.

The decision was taken by the DDMA after noticing that people were not adhering to wearing of masks at public places.

The district administration has been directed to implement the decisions which were taken in the DDMA’s meeting held in April.

“The DDMA after examining all the relevant facts related to the issue of penal provisions for not adhering to the Covid protocol of wearing of masks at public places, decided that whereby not wearing of face mask/cover in all public places has been made an offence, a fine of Rs 500 for not wearing of face mask/cover in all public places in Delhi will be imposed,” said a Delhi government notification.

It further said that people travelling together in a private vehicles will be exempt from being fined.

In view of the decision, three Enforcement Teams in Revenue District South has been constituted to monitor the enforcement of the mandate.

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Rajiv assassination convict Nalini seeks premature release

S. Nalini, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, has moved the apex court challenging the Madras High Court order, which dismissed her plea saying that it cannot exercise powers under Article 142…reports Asian Lite News

A convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case has moved the Supreme Court seeking premature release.

S. Nalini, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, has moved the apex court challenging the Madras High Court order, which dismissed her plea saying that it cannot exercise powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to pass a similar order, which was passed by the apex court to release another accused, A.G. Perarivalan, in the case. “The directions sought by the petitioner cannot be given by the court, as it otherwise does not have power similar to what the apex court has under Article 142 of the Constitution of India. For the foregoing reasons, the writ petition is dismissed as not maintainable”, said the high court in an order passed on June 17.

On May 18, the Supreme Court invoked its extraordinary powers to do complete justice under Article 142 of the Constitution, as it ordered the release of A.G. Perarivalan, sentenced to life in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

A bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao (retired now), B. R. Gavai, and A. S. Bopanna said: “in the exceptional facts and circumstances of this case, in exercise of our power under Article 142 of the Constitution, we direct that the Appellant is deemed to have served the sentence in connection with crimea.. The Appellant, who is on bail, is set at liberty forthwith”. Perarivalan is currently on bail. His death sentence was commuted to life sentence and terrorism charges were withdrawn.

The top court took into account Perarivalan’s prolonged period of incarceration, his satisfactory conduct in jail as well as during parole, chronic ailments from his medical records, his educational qualifications acquired during incarceration and the pendency of his petition under Article 161 for two and a half years after the recommendation of the state cabinet. The top court judgment came on Perarivalan’s remission plea.

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Nitish emerges as challenger to Modi-Shah

Karpoori Thakur headed the Janata Party government having amalgamated with the Bhartiya Jan Sangh which later turned into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)…reports Asian Lite News

At a time when the duo of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are dictating terms, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar not only challenged but also sent a message to the BJP and the RSS about his political daring without caring about the CBI, ED and the Income-Tax department.

Nitish Kumar, a socialist leader of Bihar, was elected as the chief minister for the eighth time.

Kumar, a product of the political school of Karpoori Thakur and Jayaprakash Narayan was influenced by the socialist ideology of these two great leaders of Bihar.

He was influenced by the social justice and making of a Samata Mulak Samaj ideology of Karpoori Thakur and also participated in the Sampoorna Kranti movement in 1977 led by Jayaprakash Narayan.

Nitish Kumar was born in a Kurmi family in Bakhtiyarpur town in Patna district on March 1, 1951. His father was an Ayurvedic doctor, Kaviraj Ram Lakhan Singh and his mother was Parmeshwari Devi.

He obtained a degree in mechanical engineering from the Bihar College of Engineering (now the National Institute of Technology NIT) Patna. During this period, he was influenced by the ideology of two-time former chief minister Karpoori Thakur (the first tenure of Karpoori Thakur was from December 22, 1970 to June 2, 1971 and his second tenure was from June 24, 1977 to April 21, 1979).

Karpoori Thakur headed the Janata Party government having amalgamated with the Bhartiya Jan Sangh which later turned into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Janata Party was influenced by the ideology of Jayaprakash Narayan and Ram Manohar Lohia. They broadly believed in the social philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi and BR Ambedkar.

Karpoori Thakur, during his second tenure, had given 33% reservation to the Backwards in Bihar following the recommendation of the Mungeri Lal Commission. The Bhartiya Jan Sangh which was considered the party of the upper caste people, was not pleased with the decision. Leaders like Kailash Pati Mishra, the then finance minister in the Karpoori Thakur government, revolted against him in April 1979 and he lost his majority in the Bihar assembly.

At that time, Indira Gandhi was undoubtedly the strongest leader in the country. However, the Sampoorna Kranti movement of 1974 put the brakes on her political career.

The Allahabad High Court found Indira Gandhi guilty of rigging the election and imposed a ban for six years on her from contesting elections on June 12, 1975. Indira Gandhi, then imposed an Emergency on the country on June 25, 1975. During the Emergency, leaders like Jayaprakash Narayan, Karpoori Thakur, Ram Manohar Lohia and others were sent to jail. At that time, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Ram Vilas Paswan and others joined the Janata Party and were also jailed.

Nitish Kumar was elected an MLA from Harnaut assembly constituency in Nalanda district in 1985.

In 1989, he contested the Lok Sabha election from Barh constituency in Patna district and won the seat. He was in the VP Singh government and served as union minister of state for agriculture and cooperatives.

VP Singh had implemented the Mandal commission report in the country and the BJP which had 88 MPs had withdrawn its support to Singh. At that time, the Mandal Vs Kamandal politics was going on and BJP leader LK Advani started his Rath Yatra for the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

When the 10th Lok Sabha election was held in 1991, Nitish Kumar was elected again on the ticket of Janata Dal from Barh constituency.

Lalu Prasad Yadav had emerged as the social justice leader of Bihar with his strong vote bank of the Yadav and Muslim communities. He gave strength to the backward, extremely backward, marginalised communities of Bihar and became the strongest leader in Bihar. He became chief minister in 1990 for the first time with the Janata Dal.

Socialist leaders George Fernandes and Nitish Kumar then left the Janata Dal and led the foundation of the Samata Party whose ideology was secularism.

Nitish Kumar was again elected to the Lok Sabha in 1996 with the Samata Party from Barh and George Fernandes won the seat from Nalanda.

He then went with the BJP in the 13-day government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. When asked why he went with a party whose ideology was just the opposite to his socialist ideology, he told mediapersons that political survival against Lalu Prasad was more important then socialist ideology. This is the survival strength of Nitish Kumar and this is the reason why he became the chief minister of Bihar for the eighth time.

He was again elected in 1998 to the 12th Lok Sabha and served as union minister for railways with the additional charge of the surface transport ministry.

In 1999, he was elected again to the Lok Sabha and became the union minister of railways, surface transport and agriculture in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

He first became the chief minister of Bihar from March 3, 2000 to March 10, 2000.

He contested the Lok Sabha election in 2000 and again served as the union minister of railways and agriculture in the Vajpayee government.

By then, Nitish Kumar had become the tallest leader of the Kurmi-Koiri and other backward class communities. That was the phase when Lalu Prasad was facing charges of fodder scam, and a number of massacres during the first tenure of his wife Rabri Devi’s government from 1996 to 2000.

Nitish Kumar got good support from the backward class apart from his traditional Kurmi-Koiri vote bank. He merged his Samata Party into the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) in 2003. During the 2005 assembly elections, the JD-U managed to win 88 seats and became the single largest party in Bihar. He formed the government in Bihar with the help of the BJP.

Nitish Kumar got the tag of Sushasan Babu of Bihar with a number of welfare schemes like giving reservations to backward classes in government jobs. He gave 50% reservation to women in the electoral process of Panchayati Raj. He worked for social justice in his first term and managed to uproot organised crime like kidnapping for ransom in the state.

He gained the support of the people of Bihar and the JD-U managed to win 118 seats in 2010 assembly election.

As per the statement of senior leader Lalan Singh on Wednesday, Nitish Kumar could have easily formed the government in Bihar but he took the BJP in the government and respected the alliance partner.

In 2013, when the BJP nominated Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate of the NDA, Nitish Kumar objected to it and came out of the NDA.

Modi, Shah

During the Modi wave in 2014, the JD-U fared badly in the Lok Sabha elections. Nitish Kumar took the responsibility for it and resigned as chief minister. Jitan Ram Manjhi became the CM.

Nitish Kumar took over as chief minister again from Jitan Ram Manjhi in November 2014 and formed an alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD. They made the Mahagathbandhan and also included the Congress party. They won the 2015 assembly election on the formula of 100: 100 seats to the RJD and the JD-U and 43 seats to the Congress.

Lalu Prasad, in 2015 announced that Nitish Kumar will be the chief minister’s face of the Mahagathbandhan. When the election results came in, the RJD won 80 seats, the JD-U 73 and the Congress 29. They managed to stop the BJP at 53 seats in Bihar despite a strong Modi wave.

The RJD, despite having more seats than the JD-U, made Nitish Kumar the chief minister of Bihar.

Apart from Lalu Prasad, the other RJD leaders thought that the chief minister’s post should come to the RJD, and they started targeting Nitish Kumar. A war of words started between the RJD and the JD-U. Nitish Kumar, who has one of the sharpest political brains, started looking for an opportunity and he picked on the corruption charges against Tejashwi Yadav in the IRCTC scam as an ideal excuse for him to come out from the Mahagathbandhan.

Though Lalan Singh, the national president of the JD-U, clarified during a press meet on August 10, 2022 that there were four leaders including Sanjay Jha, Harivansh, RCP Singh and another leader who gave him wrong advice to break the alliance with the RJD and the Congress and join the NDA.

Nitish Kumar joined the NDA in 2017 and formed the government with the help of 53 MLAs of the BJP in Bihar.

In the 2020 assembly election, Nitish Kumar contested under the umbrella of the NDA and became the chief minister of Bihar for the 7th time. After the result of the election, JD-U leaders accused the BJP of back-stabbing their party.

When Nitish Kumar resigned from the post of Chief minister on August 9, he said: “I was not interested in holding the post of chief minister after the 2020 assembly election. They insisted on me. Today’s BJP has a different ideology then the BJP of Atal Ji and Advani Ji.”

“The way BJP was trying to sabotage our party, we have discussed aspects with our MPs, MLAs and MLCs and every one suggested that I come out from the NDA. We have listened to their voices and resigned from the post of chief minister,” Kumar said.

“The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was formed in 1996 and at that time respected Atal Bihari Vajpayee, LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and George Fernandes were the leaders. The JD-U was associated with the NDA for the next 17 years. The reason was Atal Ji, Advani Ji, MM Joshi Ji, and George Saheb were respecting the coalition partners. Those leaders had principles to respect the coalition partners. And what happened now, BJP is back-stabbing its coalition partners,” Lalan Singh said.

“During the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the BJP wanted to win the polls. Hence, its leaders did not do any mischief. When it came to the 2020 assembly election of Bihar, what they did, BJP leaders back-stabbed us and weakened us,” Lalan Singh said.

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The lady whom Gandhi addressed as his mother

Among all her children, Maulana Shaukat Ali and Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar became famous in Indian history as the ‘Ali brothers’ who started the ‘Khilafat Movement’ against British rule…writes Mohammad Suaib Khan

Among the few Muslim women who had actively participated in the Indian Independence movement, Abadi Bano Begum (Bi Amma) was a prominent face.

Her active participation in the struggle to liberate the country from the British Raj, even led Mahatma Gandhi to call her his mother.

Bi Amma was born in 1850 in Uttar Pradesh and was married to Abdul Ali Khan, a senior official of the princely state of Rampur who later died of cholera. He had five sons and a daughter.

Among all her children, Maulana Shaukat Ali and Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar became famous in Indian history as the ‘Ali brothers’ who started the ‘Khilafat Movement’ against British rule.

Professor Ajay Tiwari, who retired from Delhi University, told IANS: “Bi Amma came from a conservative family. Due to her husband, she was in great debt, and it was impossible for her to raise six children after his demise.

“When her brother-in-law advised her to sell-off some of their property, she refused saying that the property belonged to her children.

“Seeing her passion for the country, Gandhi ji addressed her as his mother and called himself her son. Imagine how impressed he must have been, that despite being a popular leader at that time, Gandhi ji called her his mother!”

Bi Amma, despite her poor financial condition, from 1917-1921, donated Rs 10 every month to protest against the British Defense Act, after Sarojini Naidu’s arrest.

Highlighting her contribution to the freedom struggle, Ajay Tiwari said: “Despite her poor economic condition, Bi Amma had won everyone’s heart with her spirit. The Defence of India Act influenced her religious beliefs and the idea of women’s independence after which, she changed herself.”

“When Congress leader Subramaniam Iyer was presiding over a meeting, Bi Amma wrote him a letter for the first time which later came to be known as a ‘document of the freedom movement’. In the letter, she stated she is writing to him even though according to their Sharia law, talking to another man is ‘kufr’ (sin).”

Bi Amma, despite her progressive nature, believed in the concept of ‘purdah’ (an Islamic custom of covering a woman’s face). However, when she had come to address a gathering in Punjab and removed her burqa on stage, panic spread among the Muslim community.

At the meeting, she said that she is older than most of the audience members and they all are like her sons. Therefore, she doesn’t have to follow ‘purdah’ in front of them. And this incident made her the unanimous mother of all those who fought in the freedom movement.

In 1917, she joined the movement for the release of her two sons from prison. Mahatma Gandhi encouraged her to speak up and get the support of women in the freedom movement. She travelled extensively across India to support and raise funds for the Khilafat and Indian Independence movement.

Talking about honouring her, Ajay Tiwari said: “She died in 1924 and 66 years after her death, the Pakistani government recognised her contribution to the freedom struggle by issuing a postage stamp in her honour.

“But in India we are not doing any remarkable work to remember her. If we try to save the memory of these extraordinary personalities like Abadi Bano Begum, then our celebration of independence will be worthwhile.”

ALSO READ-Tulu queen who united Hindus, Muslims against Portuguese

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Tulu queen who united Hindus, Muslims against Portuguese

Ullal port was a prosperous port and hub of the spice trade to the outer world and the Portuguese, Dutch and British had clearly set their eyes on it…reports Asian Lite News

Rani Abbakka, the great Tulu queen regarded as the first female freedom fighter of India, is not only known for her valour who repulsed the Portuguese army, but also her strength to unite people of different faiths against the armed forces of a foreign state.

The queen hails from Karnataka, which is, currently, communally divided. A region witnessing revenge killings among Hindus and Muslims, this state has a great lesson to learn from the legacy of Rani Abbakka, when Muslims and Hindus unitedly fought under her leadership against the Portuguese.

Rani Abbakka Chowta was the first Tuluva queen from Ullal province of the present Dakshina Kannada district. She represented the Chowta dynasty which ruled Tulu Nadu, comprising strategic regions of coastal Karnataka.

The Portuguese forces, after establishing their rule in Goa, turned their focus on capturing Mangaluru, Ullal ports. The brave Rani Abbakka, who left her husband and came back to her father, repulsed the Portuguese attacks for four decades, leading the army from the front.

She is regarded as one of the foremost woman warriors and bravest of the fighters. Historians say Rani Abbakka has not been given her due place in India’s as well as Karnataka’s history.

Abbakka’s uncle Tirumalaraya crowned her as the queen of Ullal. She married Lakshmappa Arasa Bangaraja II. However, the marriage did not last very long, as Rani Abbakka returned to Ullal.

Ullal port was a prosperous port and hub of the spice trade to the outer world and the Portuguese, Dutch and British had clearly set their eyes on it.

Knowing about the crouching foreign forces waiting for a chance to take over Ullal, the local chieftains united, forgetting their communal reservations.

Rani Abbakka gave equal representation to Hindus, Jains and Muslims. During her rule in the 16th century, the coastal region was an example of unity and integrity for the entire nation, as Hindus and Muslims stood shoulder to shoulder in every aspect.

When the Portuguese, unable to find traitors, came to know that Rani Abbakka’s estranged husband nursed a deep grudge against her, they launched attacks on Ullal from 1555 to 1568.

After Ullal was captured, Rani Abbakka took shelter in a mosque. She gathered an army and launched an attack on the Portuguese, in no time. Her army fought with valour and killed General Joao Peixoto after which the Portuguese had to retreat.

She forged an alliance with the Bijapur Sultan and the Calicut (Kerala) rulers. However, she was captured by the Portuguese army and sent to jail later.

Folklore has it that even in prison she revolted and died fighting. Her tale has been told through Yakshagana, the famous local art form of the region.

The Veera Rani Abbakka Utsava is held every year to commemorate her bravery and awards are given in her name. In 2003, the Indian postal department issued a special cover on Rani Abbakka. The bronze statues of the late queen are installed in Ullal and Bengaluru. The Indian Coast Guard Ship ICGS is named after Rani Abbakka.

Karnataka, which is presently in the news for Hindu-Muslim clashes, was once united and together repulsed attacks by foreign occupying forces.

The foreign enemies could not find internal enemies and destroy their local kingdoms as Hindus, Muslims and Jains were united. Patriots are still waiting for the day when people of different faiths will unite against the common enemy.

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Modi-Shehbaz meeting likely during SCO summit: Report

Sharif will attend the conference during which he is likely to meet the presidents of China, Russia, Iran, as well as Modi…reports Asian Lite News

Narendra Modi and Shehbaz Sharif, the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, are likely to have a meeting during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, diplomatic sources told a media outlet.

The SCO summit is scheduled for September 15-16 where leaders of the organisation will sit together to discuss regional challenges, Daily Jang reported.

Sharif will attend the conference during which he is likely to meet the presidents of China, Russia, Iran, as well as Modi, according to the sources.

The sources further confirmed that in its July 28 meeting, the SCO Foreign ministers HAD reiterated that the heads of SCO states will attend the summit.

However, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto, who had attended the meeting in Tashkent, said that a bilateral meeting between the Pakistani and Indian leaders is not scheduled.

“There are no plans of any meetings between Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers in September,” he had said, adding that both India and Pakistan are part of the SCO and the two countries are only engaged in the context of the broad-based activities of the organisation.

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