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Amarinder Singh: Khattar Has No Right To Tell Anyone Where To Pray

Singh said the BJP, it seems is out to polarise the society on religious lines to garner votes.

Chandigarh, May 7 

Taking strong exception to his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar’s statement that namaz should be restricted to mosques, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today said it seems the BJP is trying to communalise the atmosphere of the country.

India is a Republic governed by a Constitution and neither Khattar nor anyone else has the right to dictate where people should or should not hold prayers, he said at a press conference here.

Flaying the Haryana chief minister for his remarks, Singh said the BJP, it seems is out to polarise the society on religious lines to garner votes.

In the wake of alleged disruptions to namaz by right-wing groups at multiple locations in Gurgaon, Khattar had yesterday said such congregations should be restricted to mosques, eidgahs or private places.

On the transfer of the rape-murder case of an 8-year-old girl from Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua to Pathankot in Punjab on the directive of the Supreme Court, he said his government would ensure full security to the victim’s family, lawyer and others during the trial proceedings.

The state government is committed to upholding the judicial process as per the apex court’s directives, the chief minister said.

To a question on the registration of an FIR by the Shahkot SHO against the Congress candidate for the upcoming Shahkot bypoll, Singh said it was part of a political conspiracy.

He also urged the Election Commission (EC) to probe the matter and examine the role of the station house officer (SHO) as well as politicians involved in it.

The SHO is upset over his earlier transfer from Jalandhar district and is in touch with AAP’s Sukhpal Singh Khaira and SAD’s Daljit Cheema, the chief minister alleged, adding that the FIR against Hardev Singh Laddi appeared to be a fallout of the same.

Singh pointed out that the EC had merely asked the police to conduct an inquiry into a complaint against Laddi, but the SHO acted in unprecedented haste in registering the FIR.

The chief minister, in response to a query, ruled out any action against SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia or anyone else till there was sufficient evidence against them of their involvement in the drugs trade.

The matter is being examined by the Enforcement Directorate and the high court is overseeing it, he said.

The Special Task Force (STF) on drugs is doing a great job and has already apprehended over 15,000 drug peddlers in the state, Singh said.

Big drug dealers have run away from the country and would be nabbed soon, the chief minister said, adding that a big drugs dealer has been arrested by the Hong Kong Police and the Punjab government would be seeking his extradition.

To a question on his government’s affidavit in Supreme Court in a road rage case against minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, Singh reiterated that they could not have backtracked from the stand it had taken earlier in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

He said personally he was in complete support of Sidhu and hoped that the court would take into account his great contribution to the country while deciding his case.

Modi like mobile phone on speaker mode: Rahul

Hosakote /Maluru (Ktk), May 7 (PTI) Congress chief Rahul Gandhi today hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “PPP Congress” jibe, likening him to a mobile phone on “speaker and airplane” mode and not the “work” mode.

On the 9th leg of his election tour of Karnataka, he accused Modi of making personal attacks against him as he did not have to speak about on other issues.

“There are three modes in a cell phone….the first is the work mode….the other two are speaker mode and airplane mode. Modi only uses speaker and airplane mode and not the work mode,” he told reporters in an impromptu interaction.

He was responding to a question about Modi’s Tuesday remark at an election rally in Gadag where he said the Congress will become “Punjab, Puducherry, Parivar” Congress after its defeat in the Karnataka Assembly polls.

“You might have seen and heard, in my speeches I speak about Narendra Modi, I question him on issues….but I speak about him with respect. Narendra Modi is an elderly man, he is aged, going to be 70. I respect those who are elder to me,” Gandhi told election rallies in Hosakote and Maluru.

Modi, he said, cannot speak on corruption as the party’s chief ministerial candidate Yeddyurappa faced graft allegations.

“He cannot speak about corruption as he has Yeddyurappa standing next to him. He cannot speak about farmers as he has not given them MSP, bonus, and not waived farm loan.

“He cannot speak about Dalits as Rohit Vemula (a dalit student of Hyderabad who committed suicide) was killed by his people, Dalit inUnnao was killed by his people. What is left? Speak ill about Rahul Gandhi, Siddaramaiah, and (Mallikarjun) Kharge. He does it,” he said.

During the three-day visit, Gandhi will address public meetings in Kolar, Bengaluru rural, Chikkballapura, Tumakuru districts and Bengaluru city.

Gandhi said though use of such language was unbecoming of a prime minister, it was a “habit” with Modi.

Alleging that atrocities against Dalits and minorities were on the rise, the Congress president said his party would not allow the Constitution to be changed, as asserted by Union minister from Karnataka Anantkumar Hegde.

“Narendra Modi folds his hands in front of Ambedkar’s statue and garlands it, but the causes for which Ambedkar fought, he will not fight for it,” Gandhi said, adding that, all across the country Dalits and minorities were being “beaten up, killed and crushed”.

About Hegde’s alleged comments on the Constitution, he said, “Modi ji listen carefully, put however much strength you have you cannot change Ambedkar’s Constitution because Congress party will not allow you to do it.”

Terming Karnataka elections as a fight between ideologies, he said on one side was the thinking of Basavanna (12th-century social reformer), the Congress party, Indira Gandhi and Devraj Urs (former chief minister), and on the other were the BJP, RSS, Modi’s thought.

Gandhi said apart from Yeddyurappa, four former ministers who had spent time in jail, and eight people from the camp of the controversial Reddy brothers were in the poll fray so they can “loot” Karnataka.

“The qualification of Yeddyurappa, Reddy brothers and four ministers……Yeddyurappa is the most corrupt chief minister the country has seen, Reddy brothers are the most corrupt people the country has seen…they will give money for marketing Modi after looting Karnataka,” he said.

Earlier, the Congress president rode a bicycle as he led a march against high fuel prices at Maluru in Kolar district. He later stood on a bullock cart from where he addressed a gathering.

He alleged the Modi government wanted to take money from the common man to give it to its “rich friends”.

The world over petrol prices were going down, but in India, those were still high, he lamented.

“Earlier in international market, the price was USD 140 per barrel, now it is USD 70 per barrel. So lakhs of crores of rupees is being saved by the government. Where is the money going?” Gandhi asked.

“Why are you not telling people that you don’t want to put GST on petrol and diesel? You want to take away money from the common man and want to give it to your five or ten industrialist friends….take money from the pockets of women and put it into the pocket of Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi,” he said.

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