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HRD ministry denies any role in banning IIT-Madras student group

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The government on Friday said it had no role in banning the students’ group at the IIT-Madras even as opposition attacked it for curbing free speech.

The controversy over action against the student’s group for criticizing the Modi government also saw a war of words break out on Twitter between Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani.

In a statement, Irani said: “The action has been taken by IIT-Madras as per the guidelines of the institute, the ministry of human resource development had nothing to do with this except for forwarding the complaint received to director, IIT, Madras for comments”.

IIT-Madras has taken action as per their own “procedure and institute’s guidelines”.

“IITs being autonomous institutions, they are competent to handle matters within their guidelines and procedure. The matter has been clarified by IIT, Madras through a media statement,” it added.

Irani’s statement followed reports stating that the institute had taken action against the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC) – a students’ study group – over an anonymous complaint to the central government, saying the study group was trying to “create an atmosphere of hatred” among students by distributing “controversial pamphlets and posters” on the campus.

An anonymous letter to the ministry said that some controversial posters and pamphlets were pasted and distributed all over the institute by the group.

“One group ‘Ambedkar Periyar’ is trying to de-align the ST/SC students and trying to make them to protest against the MHRD and central government. They are also trying to create hatred against the prime minister and Hindus,” it said, adding the group was using IIT-Madras as a stage to get publicity.

The institute’s spokesperson said that while IIT-Madras did not curtail freedom of expression of the students, it is expected that student groups adhere to guidelines while conducting their activities.

Attacking the government, Gandhi, in a tweet, said: “IIT student group banned for criticizing Modi Government. What next?”

He added that free speech “is our right. We will fight any attempt to crush dissent and debate”.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the arrogance of the Narendra Modi government has come to an extent that if “a students’ organization criticizes their policies, that group is disbanded”.

“Is this how voice of dissent raised by youth will be suppressed in the country? This is why Rahulji has raised his voice,” he said.

Senior Congress leader Ambika Soni said: “It is evident (about Modi government). Think like us. Speak our language otherwise you have no place in free India”.

The National Students Union of India (NSUI) also held a protest outside Irani’s residence here against the “anti-constitutional act of the government in banning the APSC of IIT Madras for aptly criticizing the government’s inabilities”.

“NSUI believes that such an act is in complete violation with regard to the constitutional right of freedom of expression and speech given to every individual of the country,” its spokesperson Amrish Ranjan Pandey told IANS.

The protestors were detained and taken to the Parliament Street police station.

The fight was carried on Twitter.

Within minutes of Gandhi condemning the move to censure the IIT students’ group on the micro-blogging site Twitter, Irani threw an open challenge to him. “Next time fight ur battles ur self don’t hide behind NSUI. N by d way I’m returning to Amethi soon. See you there,” she tweeted.

“Tell ur men strong arm tactics were tried in Amethi n didn’t scare me during Lok Sabha elections. They won’t scare me now,” Irani tweeted.

“Yesterday u told NSUI to create disorder where there is order. Today ur goons come to my house as I’m away at work,” she said.

The union minister was on a day-long visit to Silchar in Assam to address party workers to mark the BJP-led government’s one year in office.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Narendra Modi Lays Foundation Stones For Thane Metro, Mass Housing Project

Present on the occasion were Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis besides other dignitaries and he later departed for Pune to lay the foundation stone for a Metro project there

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Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi (Wikimedia Commons)

Virtually kicking off the BJP campaign for 2019 elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi targeted the Congress governments for various lapses while laying foundation stones for Thane district Metro Rail and a mass housing project here on Tuesday.

In Kalyan, Modi performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan Metro and the Dahisar-Mira-Bhayander Metro corridor projects to ease the transportation problems in these bustling towns, at an estimated cost of around Rs 33,000 crore.

Simultaneously, he also laid the foundation stone for an ambitious project to construct 90,000 homes for poor sections of society under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (PMAY) to be completed within three years.

Speaking on the occasion, he said Mumbai and Thane are expanding and exerting huge pressures on the local resources, especially road and rail transports.

To mitigate the sufferings of the masses, many efforts have been taken up to improve the transport systems of the two cities in the past four-and-half years of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, he said.

“India is the world’s only country where urbanisation is taking place at a fast pace. Mumbai is the centre of economic activities and will further expand in the coming time. Hence transportation is a vital link to the development of any city or the country,” Modi pointed out.

Targeting the previous Congress government, he said the first Metro project in Mumbai was taken up in 2006 and after eight years, only 11 km was started in 2014.

According to LocalCircles, each person who voted in the survey is registered with the portal with their detailed information and in many cases they shared their residential address.
PM lays stones for Thane Metro, mass housing project, IANS

“We don’t know why it was stuck. After 2014, we decided to increase the pace of laying Metro lines and the scale in the form of a Metro Net in the city. It will add 35 km within the next three years and between 2022 and 2024, Mumbai will have have around 275 km of Metro network,” Modi said.

To mark the Platinum Jubilee (75 years) of India’s Independence, he said the government is moving to ensure that every family in India has a permanent home to live.

“The goal here is to build 90,000 new homes for the poor which I am told will be ready in three years. Maharashtra will get 800,000 new houses for the weaker sections under the PMAY. Under this, we are directly crediting Rs 250,000 loan into the bank accounts, besides helping the lower and middle classes to get bank housing loans,” Modi said.

He said with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) getting notified in most states, Maharashtra became the first to implement it, and it has resulted in huge transparency in all housing deals, which did not exist in the past 70 years.

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“Around 35,000 real estate projects across India and 27,000 real estate agents have been registered under RERA. According to a report, the speed of buying new homes has doubled in the past seven-eight months compared to the previous year,” Modi pointed out.

He reiterated that in the final four years of the previous UPA government, only 2.55 million homes were construction, but in the past four years of the present NDA government, 12.50 million houses have been constructed under the PMAY.

Present on the occasion were Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis besides other dignitaries and he later departed for Pune to lay the foundation stone for a Metro project there. (IANS)