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Punjab on maximum alert, villagers near border told to move

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Chandigarh, Sep 29 : Punjab was on maximum alert on Thursday while villagers close to the border with Pakistan have been told to move to safer locations following Indian “surgical strikes” across the LoC.

“Punjab is in a state of maximum alert,” Harcharan Bains, the advisor to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, said here.

He said appropriate steps were being taken to ensure the safety of people in the border areas with Pakistan.

Bains said the state cabinet would meet on Thursday evening, to be chaired by Badal, to take stock of the situation and take appropriate action.

The Punjab government has ordered the evacuation of villages in a 10-km belt along the border with Pakistan following the surgical strikes by the Indian Army across the Line of Control.

The union Home Ministry on Thursday directed the Punjab government to get the border villages evacuated.

Local authorities used loudspeakers of gurdwaras to announce to residents in the border villages to leave their homes and villages and move to safer zones.

All schools and other institutions in the border belt have been ordered shut. All leave of Punjab Police and medical personnel in the border areas has been cancelled.

Punjab’s border districts include Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Abohar and Fazilka.

Informed sources said the Border Security Force (BSF) was mobilizing its troops and strengthening the security along the border.

Punjab shares a 553-km border with Pakistan.

The BSF has cancelled the Retreat ceremony at the Attari-Wagah border joint check-post (JCP) at Attari, 30 km from Amritsar, officials said.

The BSF and district authorities have asked visitors and tourists not to move towards Attari for the ceremony on Thursday. It is not clear when the ceremony will resume.

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India

Put farm laws on hold or we will do it, Chief Justice Bobde tells government

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New Delhi, 11 Jan : A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde on Monday toughened its stand on the farm laws and said the court has made up its mind to stay the implementation of the three farm laws, which have led to the protest by thousands of farmers at various Delhi borders.

“What is going on? States are rebelling against your laws”, a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde told the Centre. “We are extremely disappointed with the negotiation process,” he said.

“If the Centre does not want to stay the implementation of farm laws, we will put a stay on it,” the CJI added.

“We don’t want to make any stray observations on your negotiations but we are extremely disappointed with the process,” said the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

The apex court, which was hearing a clutch of pleas challenging the new farm laws as well as the ones raising issues related to the ongoing agitation at Delhi borders, said it is not talking about the repeal of these farm laws at the moment.

“This is a very delicate situation,” the bench said, adding, “There is not a single petition before us which says that these farm laws are beneficial.”

“We will stay implementation of laws,” the CJI said. “You can carry on the protest. But the question is whether the protest should be held at the same site,” he added.

“Some people have committed suicide, old people and women are a part of the agitation. What is happening?” he said.

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India

Farmer agitation enters 47th day, all eyes on SC hearing pleas on protests

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New Delhi, 11 Jan : The farmer agitation on the borders of the national capital entered the 47th day on Monday as the farmers have taken to the streets protesting against the three central farm laws. But now all eyes are glued on the Supreme Court which would conduct a hearing on various pleas related to the farmers’ agitation and the new farm laws on Monday.

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Talks with farmers end without breakthrough, dialogue may resume on Jan 8

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New Delhi, 4 Jan : The crucial seventh round of talks between the government and 41 farmers representatives ended without any breakthrough and the next round of talks is expected on January 8, sources said.

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