Rush Hour: Five states saw 128 ‘punitive demolitions’ of mostly Muslim-owned structures in three months in 2022

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A bulldozer used for demolishing the home of Javed Ahmed, a local leader who was allegedly involved in the violent protests against BJP former spokesperson Nupur Sharma's remarks about Prophet Muhammad, in Prayagraj in June 2022. | AFP

The authorities in four Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states and one Aam Aadmi Party-governed state punitively bulldozed 128 structures, mostly belonging to Muslims, between April and June 2022, Amnesty International has said.

In all five states, Amnesty International found that “targeted demolitions” and “forced evictions” were used as a form of “extrajudicial and collective and arbitrary punishment and retaliation against Muslims speaking against injustices and discrimination they were facing”.
In two reports released on Wednesday, the human rights organisation showed that BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh reported the highest number of  punitive demolitions at 56, followed by 36 demolitions in Gujarat,  25 in Aam Aadmi Party-ruled Delhi, eight in Assam and three in Uttar Pradesh. More on Scroll.

Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar | @PawarSpeaks/X

The Election Commission has assigned Sharad Pawar’s faction of the Nationalist Congress Party the name “Nationalist Congress Party – Sharadchandra Pawar”.
The poll body had allowed Sharad Pawar’s faction to choose a new name for the February 27 polls for six Rajya Sabha seats from Maharashtra. It did not mention if an election symbol had been allocated to the faction. 

This came a day after the Election Commission recognised the faction led by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar as the real Nationalist Congress Party. 

In July, Ajit Pawar and several MLAs of the Nationalist Congress Party joined Maharashtra’s coalition government comprising the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. This led to a split in the party, with one faction supporting Sharad Pawar and the other backing Ajit Pawar. Read on.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. | AFP

A Delhi court has asked Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to appear before it on February 17 for not complying with the five summons issued to him by the Enforcement Directorate in the liquor policy case.

The Aam Aadmi Party, alleging that the Enforcement Directorate’s summons were illegal, said that it is studying the court order and will take action according to the law. The party has claimed that the Enforcement Directorate wants to arrest Kejriwal and stop him from campaigning for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
The Enforcement Directorate had moved court against the Aam Aadmi Party chief on February 3 after he skipped the fifth summons that was issued to him.  Read on.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and other state Congress leaders protest alleged injustice to the state in the Union Budget. | @INCIndia/X

The Congress government in Karnataka, led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, held a protest in Delhi to oppose the Centre’s “financial injustice” towards the southern state. Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar along with several ministers and Congress MLAs participated.
Karnataka minister Satish Jarkiholi claimed that the Centre owes the state more than Rs 1 lakh crore. The Congress government has been at loggerheads with the Union government over devolution of taxes and non-receipt of pending funds for irrigation schemes.
During the Budget Session of Parliament, Congress’ Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury cited Karnataka’s example while questioning the Union government why southern India states ruled by Opposition parties were being deprived of their dues by the Centre. More on Scroll.

File image. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman ahead of her Budget speech in Parliament. | Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters

The Budget Session of Parliament has been extended by a day till February 10, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has announced. The session was to end on Friday as Parliament usually does not function on weekends.
On Tuesday, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi had said that the Centre will present a white paper in Parliament, comparing the state of India’s economy before and after 2014 – the year that the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power.
Neither Joshi nor Birla elaborated on the agenda for Saturday. Discussions on the interim Budget, passing of the Finance Bill and the Centre’s demands for grants are yet to be taken up by Parliament in the session. Read on.

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