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The term ‘secular’ has been misused in politics: Rajnath Singh

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New Delhi: A discussion in the Lok Sabha on Thursday on the Constitution and its chief architect B.R. Ambedkar went on a different trajectory as Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed “secular” the most misused word and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi hit back, accusing the government of deliberately attacking “the principles that inspired the country for decades”.

As the Lok Sabha, on the first day of the winter session, took up a discussion on commitment to the Constitution as a part of Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary celebrations, Rajnath Singh, initiating the debate, said that those who framed the Constitution would have introduced “socialist and secular” in it if they had felt it was required.

Taking veiled digs at the Congress, and even targeting actor Aamir Khan over his remarks on rising intolerance in the country, he said Ambedkar faced injustice and discrimination due to social inequities, but kept control over his feelings, and always presented an objective point of view.

“He (Ambedkar) never said how much he is being insulted in India. He said he will live in India for strengthening the country. He never thought he would go somewhere else,” he said, drawing protests from the opposition benches.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, however, ruled there was nothing objectionable.

The minister said Ambedkar was the “binding force” for the country while the country’s first home minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, was the “unifying force”. He also paid tribute to first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Noting the words “socialist and secular” were introduced in the Constitution through the 42nd amendment, he argued that if the Constitution-makers had felt their need, they would have included them in the Preamble.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge sought to counter Rajnath Singh, saying Ambedkar wanted to include these words in the Preamble, but did not do so in the prevailing atmosphere.

Rajnath Singh, however, retorted that Ambedkar felt that secularism was in the basic nature of Indians and there was no need to mention it separately.

“In today’s politics, if a word has been misused the maximum, it is secular,” he claimed, adding the secular’s formal translation was not “dharam nirpeksh” (neutral of religion) but “panth nirpeksh (neutral of faith)” and that the “misuse of some words” had not allowed the country to have the level of harmony that was sought to be built.

He also stressed that Ambedkar should not be seen just as a Dalit leader.

In her address, Gandhi targeted the government, asserting that the principles that inspired India for decades were facing a threat. She also said that the history of the Constitution is closely linked to the history of the Congress party.

“Whatever we have seen in the past few months, it is against the values of the Constitution.

“Today is a day of happiness, but there is also pain. The principles that inspired (us) for decades, a danger is lurking over them. They are being deliberately attacked.

“The people who have no faith in the Constitution, who have not contributed to its making, they are talking about it repeatedly, are trying to appropriate it. There cannot be a bigger joke,” she said.

Mahajan said the Constitution is an instrument for social, economic and political progress and individual rights were as important as the interest of the community, and parliamentary democracy provides for peaceful co-existence and progress of all communities without reference to caste, sect, religion and language.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in the house when it took up the discussion.

The day is also being observed as the Constitution Day, commemorating acceptance of the draft statute on this day in 1949.

(IANS)

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India to Launch Electronic Intelligence Satellite Soon

In January, the space agency launched a defence imaging satellite Microsat R for the DRDO

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TESS, rover, NASA, mercuryKeplar, NASA
TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, is shown in this conceptual illustration obtained by Reuters on March 28, 2018. NASA sent TESS into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. VOA

India on April 1 will launch an electronic intelligence satellite Emisat for the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) along with 28 third party satellites and also demonstrate its new technologies like three different orbits with a new variant of PSLV rocket, ISRO said on Saturday.

According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), a new variant of its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket will first put the 436 kg Emisat into a 749 km orbit.

After that, the rocket will be brought down to put into orbit the 28 satellites at an altitude of 504 km.

This will be followed by bringing the rocket down further to 485 km when the fourth stage/engine will turn into a payload platform carrying three experimental payloads: (a) Automatic Identification System (AIS) from ISRO for Maritime satellite applications capturing messages transmitted from ships (b) Automatic Packet Repeating System (APRS) from AMSAT (Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation), India – to assist amateur radio operators in tracking and monitoring position data and (c) Advanced Retarding Potential Analyser for Ionospheric Studies (ARIS) from Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) – for the structural and compositional studies of ionosphere, the space agency said.

The whole flight sequence will take about 180 minutes from the rocket’s lift off slated at 9.30 a.m. on April 1.

The 28 international customer satellites (24 from US, 2 from Lithuania and one each from Spain and Switzerland)- will weigh about 220 kg.

OSIRIS-REx, NASA, Asteroid bennu
Satellite To Conduct Biological Experiments In Space, Plans Space Kidz India. VOA

“It is a special mission for us. We will be using a PSLV rocket with four strap-on motors. Further, for the first time we will be trying to orbit the rocket at three different altitudes,” ISRO Chairman K. Sivan had earlier told IANS.

The PSLV is a four-stage engine expendable rocket with alternating solid and liquid fuel.

In its normal configuration, the rocket will have six strap-on motors hugging the rocket’s first stage.

On January 24, the ISRO flew a PSLV with two strap-on motors while in March, it had four strap-on motors.

The Indian space agency also has two more PSLV variants, viz Core Alone (without any strap-on motors) and the larger PSLV-XL.

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The ISRO selects the kind of rocket to be used based on the weight of satellites it carries.

The ISRO will also be launching two more defence satellites sometime in July or August with its new rocket Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).

In January, the space agency launched a defence imaging satellite Microsat R for the DRDO. (IANS)