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Lingayat, Muslim communities | Latest News India

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Bengaluru:

The All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha, led by its chairman and Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa, met Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge in New Delhi, and demanded that 52 to 60 seats be given to the Veerashaiva Lingayat community. (HT Photo)
The All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha, led by its chairman and Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa, met Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge in New Delhi, and demanded that 52 to 60 seats be given to the Veerashaiva Lingayat community. (HT Photo)

Several community leaders in Karnataka have approached the Congress demanding higher representation in the state assembly elections as the party’s central election committee will meet on March 17 to decide on its candidates’ list, people close to developments said on Thursday.

On Wednesday evening, the All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha, led by its chairman and Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa, met Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge in New Delhi.

The delegation demanded that 52 to 60 seats be given to the Veerashaiva Lingayat community.

“We met Mr Kharge, and it was a good meeting. We have asked for 52 to 60 seats for him. He said that our request is right and he will do his best to get us as many seats to the community,” Shivashankarappa told reporters.

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He also added that the community demanded two seats for Lingayats in Bengaluru as well. “We have not specified any sub-castes. We have made demands for the entire community,” he added.

The Congress is likely to release its list of more than 120 candidates between March 17-20, the above-cited people said.

During the 2018 assembly polls, Congress had given around 42 seats for the community, out of which 18 won. “There was a time in the 1950s, we had 90 MLAs from the community. So, the demand we have put forth now is less in comparison,” he said.

Earlier, the Congress Lingayat leaders had met screening committee chairman Mohan Prakash and made similar demands.

Meanwhile, Muslim leaders in the Congress have demanded at least one assembly ticket in each parliamentary constituency in the state.

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“The leaders of the Muslim community have also given a list of 21 names of candidates to the party for consideration,” said a leader in the know of the development.

In February, in what looked like an indication that most of the sitting Congress MLAs may get the ticket to contest the upcoming assembly polls, the party’s state president D K Shivakumar said all of them have worked amidst people and “have done a good job”.

“By and large, all of them have done a good job. All our MLAs have worked. Despite being in opposition and non-cooperation from the BJP government, all of them have worked being amidst the people,” Shivakumar said in response to a question about whether tickets are certain for all sitting MLAs. The Congress currently has 69 MLAs in the Karnataka legislative assembly.

According to Congress leaders, 120 names have been finalised unanimously, and in 50-60 seats, there is stiff competition. In the remaining seats, there are more than two candidates, and the party might decide on them later, the leaders said.

The Congress has set a target of winning at least 150 seats in the 224-member assembly to regain power in Karnataka, with a clear majority. While JD(S) has already announced the first list of 93 candidates for assembly polls, BJP and Congress are yet to announce their list.

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Barring married cadets from applying for JAG in army a reasonable restriction: Centre to Delhi high Court | Latest News India

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New Delhi: The Union government on Wednesday told the Delhi high court that confining the recruitment for the Judge Advocate General (JAG), the legal officer in the army, to unmarried men and women is a “reasonable restriction placed in public interest and the interest of national security”.

The Delhi high court posted the matter for hearing on July 17. (Archive)
The Delhi high court posted the matter for hearing on July 17. (Archive)

Explaining the rationale behind the policy barring married individuals from applying for JAG, the government in an affidavit filed before the court said the cadets have to undergo a high amount of stress and rigours of military training and the restriction on marriage before successful commission is in the interest of the candidates as well as organisation.

“Having regard to the effects of marriage, the bar of marriage is a reasonable restriction placed in public interest and national security…due to such thought of policy governing the entry of males and females in Indian Army, either men or women officers, do not require them to resign or give up their service due to marriage or marriage related natural consequences if they get married after completion of training and are granted commission,” the Centre said in its latest affidavit.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Datta was hearing a petition by lawyer Kush Kalra, who challenged the exclusion of married individuals from applying for the post. On Wednesday, the court granted time to the petitioner to file his response to the Centre’s stand and posted the matter for hearing on July 17.

During the previous hearing in the case last year, the court had asked the Centre to file an additional affidavit detailing the rationale to exclude married men and women in JAG.

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The government in its affidavit said there is no discrimination between men and women in the army, adding that military training is compulsory for all recruits before enrolment, irrespective of the arm and service they belong to.

“In all types of entries, unmarried clause is common… in the Indian Army both males and females are treated equally and granted equal opportunity in all service conditions and benefits,” it said. “The condition of being unmarried for both male and female candidates aged between 21-27 years for grant of commission is restricted only for the period of recruitment and pre-commissioned training which involves a high amount of physical and mental stress, strain and rigours of military training.”

The affidavit further said that once unmarried lady cadets and gentlemen cadets complete their training and are granted commission, “there is no bar for getting married or its natural consequences of pregnancy etc and service benefits viz. maternity leave, child care leave, paternity leave or married accommodation etc.”

During conduct of Basic Military Training, which lasts for a minimum one year, such provisions are not possible, it said. “Since pregnancy and giving birth to a child is considered as natural right for a woman and she cannot be deprived of that, while formulating the rules such precautionary conditions have been laid down in the interest of women candidates themselves,” the Centre said in its reply.

“With regard to male officers, the answering respondents, without prejudice, respectfully submit that the rigor of training and initial years of service do not permit an officer to get married during training or to address certain requirements of married life to include situations of emergency,” it added.

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Absence of more than three weeks during training leads to the cadets losing a term and being relegated to a junior term and further absence leads to discharge, the government informed the court.

“Thus, the prohibition of marriage during training period and before successful commission is felt to be a reasonable restriction put in the interest of the candidates as well as organisation,” it added.

In the PIL, petitioner Kush Kalra, who was represented by advocate Charu Wali Khanna, has termed as “institutionalised discrimination” the restriction on married individuals from being considered for JAG.

The petition has questioned the basis for barring married individuals from joining JAG, citing that marital status is not an eligibility criterion for the “equally ranked” judiciary and civil services.

In its earlier affidavit filed in March 2019, the government said that right to marry cannot be a right to life under the Constitution and there was no discrimination on the basis of marital status of the candidates.

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JAG is the legal advisor to the chief of the army staff in matters of military, martial and international law, the plea has said. It has sought that the special army instructions of 1992 and 2017, which disentitle married women and married men, respectively, from applying for JAG be declared as void.


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Kerala sounds alert amid slight increase in daily Covid infections | Latest News India

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Thiruvananthapuram:

Kerala health minister Veena George said there were 1,026 actives Covid cases in the state and 111 people were hospitalised. (REUTERS)
Kerala health minister Veena George said there were 1,026 actives Covid cases in the state and 111 people were hospitalised. (REUTERS)

The Kerala government on Wednesday sounded an alert to all districts after a slight increase in Covid-19 cases in the state. After a meeting with core committee members and experts, health minister Veena George said there is a marginal increase in cases and on Tuesday the state reported 172 new infections.

According the latest bulletin, the state reported 210 Covid cases on Wednesday.

George said there were 1,026 actives cases in the state and 111 people were hospitalised. “We request all to wear masks and meet other measures to check the possible infection. There is no need of any panic and but it always good to take precautions,” she said after the meeting.

She said Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam districts reported maximum cases. “We have alerted all 14 districts. We are keeping a strict tab on the situation. If needed, we will conduct genomic sequencing tests in affected areas,” she said, adding all hospitals have also been alerted.

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“We will monitor the situation on daily basis. The new variant of Covid-19 is highly infectious. So it always good to heed the advice of professionals and take precautions,” she said. The Union Government had already warned 6 states, including Kerala, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi called meeting in the capital on Wednesday evening to review the situation.

Many hospitals in the state have made masks mandatory and schools also advised children to wear them. The state had reported second maximum cases after Maharashtra during three bouts of the pandemic. The state had also registered over 1 40,000 cases for violation of Covid-19 protocols during the height of pandemic but these cases were withdrawn last year. With high density of population (859 people per sq km) and a large number of elderly population (at least 15% are above 60 years of age) and high volume of lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes and blood pressure, the state will have to go an extra mile, said experts.

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Modi unveils 6G test bed with 2030 target | Latest News India

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday released a vision document that details India’s plans to develop and launch 6G (or 6th generation) telecom services, a move that comes, he added, just around six months after the roll-out of 5G services .

HT Image
HT Image

Modi has previously said that India will have 6G services by 2030.

“Today’s India is rapidly moving towards the next step of the digital revolution,” he said. “India… (has had) the fastest 5G rollout in the world as 5G services have been rolled out in more than 125 cities in just 120 days and 5G services have reached approximately 350 districts in the country.”

India has also developed its own technology for 5G, and the US has been speaking to India about sourcing the indigenously developed 5G stack, as it is called, HT reported last week, citing officials who did not want to be named.

Modi was speaking at the new International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Area office & Innovation Centre in India at a programme in Vigyan Bhawan. “India is working with many countries to change the work culture of the whole world with the power of 5G,” he said. “Be it 5G smart classrooms, farming, intelligent transport systems or healthcare applications, India is working fast in every direction.”

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According to a statement released by the government, the Bharat 6G vision document has been prepared by the Technology Innovation Group on 6G (TIG-6G) constituted in November 2021 with members from various ministries/departments, research and development institutions, academia, standardization bodies, telecom service providers and industry to develop a road-map and action plans for 6G in India. “The 6G test bed will provide academic institutions, industries, start-ups, MSMEs etc. a platform to test and validate the evolving information and communication technologies. The Bharat 6G Vision Document and 6G test bed will provide an enabling environment for innovation, capacity building and faster technology adoption in the country,” the statement added.

Speaking at the same event telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said India’s 5G rollout is among the “fastest in the world”. “The 5G test bed at IIT Madras is helping us perfect telecom equipment and software,” he added. The government hopes that the 6G test bed will have a similar impact.

The Prime Minister also spoke of how India has used technology to improve lives and livelihoods.

The three pillars — Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and mobile (JAM) — is an example of India is effectively using technology. “Telecom technology for India is not a mode of power, but a mission to empower,” he said.

“From 6 crore (60 million) users 2014, today there are over 80 crore (800 million) broadband users,” he said. “More people in rural country are leveraging digital power than urban people. This shows how digital power is reaching every corner off the country.”

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6G or sixth generation services are the next generation of wireless telephony and internet, and are expected to be faster than 5G, have lower latency, and have a higher capacity.

The Prime Minister also launched an app, “Call before u Dig” to improve coordination between various utilities and government departments reduce the instances of unnecessary digging and damage.

ITU is the United Nations’ specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs). Headquartered in Geneva, it has a network of field offices, regional Offices and area offices. India signed a Host Country Agreement in March 2022 with ITU for the establishment of Area Office.

Mahesh Uppal, a telecom expert, said that even in the West, 6G is targeted for 2030.

“There is no doubt that a lot of research and development work that needs to happen. There is a lot of push for India to have a share of the 6G mind space. But we have to be cognisant that such technologies are market driven, not government driven, however, they can be facilitative. We have to be mindful of that. We have to have realistic expectations.”

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He added that India was the 87th country to launch 5G. “There are a lot of factors that have to come together, technology, investments, a market demand, people have to want the technology for it to be created,” Uppal said.

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