Friday January 19, 2018
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Do not forget poll promises, Anna Hazare says to PM

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Ralegan-Siddh: Social activist Anna Hazare on Friday reminded PM Narendra Modi of his “forgotten” poll promises and said there is “no difference between UPA and NDA governments”.

Hazare has said that it is imperative to implement the Lok Pal and Lokayukta to “control corruption to an extent” and give a fair price to agriculture produce to stop farmers’ suicides in the country.

The 79-year-old pointed out how before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Modi promised that if the Bharatiya Janata Party was voted to power, he would strive to make the country “corruption-free”.

“However, even now corruption has not decreased, no work can be done without paying bribes… Even inflation has not been curbed. In the matter of corruption, there is no difference between the UPA and NDA governments,” Hazare wrote.

He reminded Modi that when he first stepped inside parliament, he vowed to maintain its sanctity like a temple: “But parliament sessions are lost in fights-arguments… crores of rupees of public money is being wasted.”

Touching upon a sensitive issue, Hazare recalled how Modi promised to get back the black money stashed abroad “within 100 days” and each Indian would get Rs.15 lakh in his bank account. “But that has not happened till now, forget Rs.15 lakh, people have not got even Rs.15.”

“You are neither speaking about the Lok Pal and Lokayukta laws nor implementing them. We had hopes that you would address them in your ‘Mann Ki Baat’ (PM’s monthly radio address to the nation), especially since you had assured that you would tackle corruption,” Hazare said.

On the agriculture front, he said the government promised 1.5 times returns to the farming community, but since that remains unimplemented, farmers suicides continue to plague farmlands across India.

Hazare added that in the past, former Prime Ministers like P.V. Narasimha Rao used to call and speak with him occasionally, even A.B. Vajpayee would enquire about him whenever he travelled to Maharashtra while Manmohan Singh – whom he had targeted – also used to reply to his letters.

“Perhaps you get angry by my letters and they end up in the dustbin… I am just an ordinary citizen who is powerless against the government, at best I can launch an agitation…,” Hazare said, from his village in Ahmednagar district of the state.(IANS)

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Muslim women can now travel for Haj without Mahram

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1300 applicants after the new rule came in. Wikimedia commons
1300 applicants after the new rule came in. Wikimedia commons

In India, earlier it was mandatory for Muslim women to travel with mahram if they wanted to go for Haj. However, now Muslim women aged above 45 will now be allowed to go for the pilgrimage without ‘mahram’ in a group of at least four.

“1300 Muslim women have applied to perform Haj without ‘mahram’ and women from different parts of the country from Kerala to north India, have expressed their wish to go for the Haj pilgrimage,” said PM Modi on Mann Ki Baat.

A five-member panel

Earlier too, Centre had recommended women above 45 years to embark on haj pilgrimage in a four-member group without a male relative.

A committee was formed by Union ministry of minority affairs to review the existing haj policy and suggest a framework for new rules for 2018-22. It listed several recommendations which included permitting women to go for the pilgrimage without a male relative.

1.4 lakh people from India participate in Haj every year. Pixabay
1.4 lakh people from India participate in Haj every year. Pixabay

Controversy

In his last Mann Ki Baat address of the year on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to Muslim women, highlighting his government’s attempt at facilitating women’s travel for Haj pilgrimage without a male companion.

“For decades, injustice was being done to Muslim women but there was no discussion on it. Even in many Islamic countries, this practice does not exist,” the PM said.

“Our Ministry of Minority Affairs issued corrective measures and we eased this restriction by phasing out a tradition that had been in practice for the past 70 years,” Mr. Modi pointed out.

However, many claims that these rules are made by Saudi Arabia, not the Indian Government.

“It is the Saudi Haj authorities that have allowed any Muslim women above 45 years from any country without a Mehram to do Haj. It does not behoove the PM to take credit for what a foreign govt has done,” said AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi.

Saudi Arabia had updated the rules on haj back in 2015, as their embassy website shows.

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