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Armed forces pained by government decisions, Rahul tells Modi

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Rahul-Gandhi

New Delhi, 29 Oct : Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that decisions taken by the government over the past few weeks had adversely affected the morale of the armed forces and caused them “pain and hurt”.

The letter comes a few days after Modi started a campaign #Sandesh2Soldiers to invite people to send letters and messages to the armed forces on Diwali.

In the letter, written on Friday and released to media on Saturday, Gandhi said he was saddened by actions taken by the government in the last few weeks and urged that soldiers should be shown care not only through words but actions.

“As we celebrate Diwali, and rejoice in the victory of light over darkness, let us send this message to our soldiers that our gratitude is expressed both in words and in deed. This is the very least we owe to those who give up their today to secure our tomorrow,” he said.

Gandhi called upon Modi to address “anomalies” in the 7th Pay Commission with regard to the armed forces and implement the One Rank One Pension (OROP) in a meaningful way.

“I am writing to bring to your attention several reports emerging in the media about decisions taken over the last few weeks by the government, that I believe adversely affect the morale of our armed forces.

“I am saddened that in the last few weeks actions taken by the government, far from reassuring the soldiers, have indeed caused them pain and hurt,” he said in the letter.

Gandhi noted that just days after the Indian army conducted surgical strikes on terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, “the disability pension system was converted to a new slab system, that in many instances drastically reduces the pension received by these brave men in case of a disability.”

He said the roll out of the 7th Pay Commission continues to keep our defence forces at a disadvantage and “further exacerbates the disparity between them and civil employees”.

“And finally, contrary to what was promised, OROP as implemented by your government, does not fully meet the genuine demands of our ex-servicemen and they have been forced to come out on the streets to make their voice heard on this vital issue,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi also pointed to media reports claiming that the government has “downgraded the status of military officers vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts in a letter dated October 18”.

“I therefore urge you to ensure that our soldiers get their due whether it is regarding compensation, disability pension or parity with civil employees.”

He said that their demands must be met “because soldiers should not have to struggle to claim what is surely due to them on behalf of a grateful nation”.

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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